2017 FIRST Global Challenge

July 16-18, 2017 in Washington, D.C, USA.

View the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge and the full list of rankings here

2017 Grand Challenge Theme: Provide Access to Clean Water

Access to clean, drinkable water has proven to be a potent source of political, economic, and social strife in nations throughout the world – the effects of which have been felt everywhere from Sub-Saharan Africa to the United States. At the present, more than one billion people do not have access to clean water and over half of them are children. This lack of access to drinkable water results in more deaths each year than those resulting from war. If current water consumption trends continue across the globe, two out of three people on earth will suffer from water-stressed conditions by the year 2025.

Water is not only an essential ingredient that helped lead to the development of life on Earth, but it comprises between 50 percent and 70 percent of the human body. Along with mild temperatures and breathable atmosphere, the continued ability of intelligent life on Earth to thrive depends on maintaining persistent and plentiful access to clean water.

“We can empty half of all the beds in all the hospitals in the world by just giving people clean water.” – Dean Kamen

Due to the importance of resolving this immense issue, the US National Academy of Engineering, UK Royal Academy of Engineering, and Chinese Academy of Engineering have deemed “providing access to clean water” to be one of their 14 “Grand Challenges for Engineering.” The Grand Challenges are engineering issues that must be addressed to ensure a healthy, sustainable, and increasing quality of life for billions of people across the world.

In recognition of the challenge’s importance and applicability to all nations, FIRST Global is taking this most universal of challenges – access to clean water – as the focus for the inaugural FIRST Global robotics game.

The robotics challenge reflects how we need to cooperate as a global society to solve the water crisis. Teams representing over a hundred different countries will be organized into two competing alliances, and pollutants in the water will need to be separated, and clean water will need to be brought to each team’s reservoir within the allotted time.

Solving this global water issue will need much more than the best engineering minds of our era. It will require a whole new generation of tech savvy future STEM leaders who will demand a global response to the issue of water security. These students are doing much more than competing in a robotics game – they are learning that these challenges will only be overcome when people realize we are all on the same team, and that with technology, we can accomplish things we can only imagine by communicating, cooperating, and working together to apply technology as a tool for positive change in the world.

Photos courtesy of the United States Geological Survey

2017 Game Design


Welcome to the official game of the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge, H2O FLOW! In H2O FLOW, teams learn
 about real-world water
 scarcity and 
contamination issues. In 
the game, two villages
 exist on either side of a 
contaminated river. The
 villagers compete to
 create and store purified 
water in their respective
 reserves. In a laboratory
 up stream, the villagers 
come together to research the contaminants and ultimately create a purification system so contaminants are removed before they reach the villages, thus providing clean water for all. In the end, each village prepares for the coming flood by searching for higher ground.


H2O Flow Game Design Manuals


H2O Field Build Guide


2017 National Teams

By clicking on the map below, you will find photos and short biographies for each of the teams that made the trip to the 2017 FIRST Global Challenge.

Teams not listed on the map: Team Hong Kong, Team Hope (Refugees), Team Africa, Team Asia, Team Europe, Team North America, Team Oceania, and Team South America

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