16-18 JULY 2017



Access to clean, drinkable water has been 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. More than one billion people do not have access to clean water, and over half of them are children. This shortage results in more deaths each year than those from war. If current water consumption trends continue across the globe, two out of three people will suffer from water-stressed conditions by 2025.


As such, the US National Academy of Engineering, UK Royal Academy of Engineering, and Chinese Academy of Engineering deemed “providing access to clean water” to be one of their 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering — challenges that must be addressed to ensure a healthy, sustainable, and increasing quality of life for billions across the world.


In recognition of its great importance and applicability to all nations, FIRST Global took this most universal of challenges as the focus for the inaugural FIRST Global Challenge. Teams gathered together at Constitution Hall to not only cooperatively compete in a game themed around this problem, but to also meet and learn from other youth around the globe as they move toward being changemakers in their communities.


represented by 163 teams, including a team of refugees.


directly impacted, with more involved back home.


founded, organized, or brought into being by women.


including 15 female-majority or all-girl teams.






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 upstream, 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 Flow Field Build Guide

This video is subtitled in English, Spanish, and French.

“The FIRST Global Challenge demonstrates the tremendous power of technology, education, and competition to assemble the next generation of innovators.”


—Dean Kamen, FIRST Global Founder


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.

“Robotics changed my life and opened my eyes to a whole new world.”

–Alejandra, Team Nicaragua 2017

“For me, [volunteering] was an experience of a lifetime. Nowhere else could I have had the experience of meeting so many professional kids from so many countries, all of them thrilled about science, robotics, and programming, working together as partners in some matches and against each other in others. The 2017 FIRST Global Challenge was an event that showed that the world can come together to do great things just like these future engineers. To help with FIRST Global is to help shape the future generations of the world.

–Andrew, 2017 event volunteer

“Before FIRST Global, I had a worldview that was very small. After taking part in the competition, I saw the world is SO big! Truly it has been something very, very beautiful and my life has done a 180 degree turn.”

–Daniela, Team Honduras 2017

FIRST Global allowed me to go beyond my limits, to widen my field of vision, to discover the beauty of values ​​such as fair play and group work. I now understand what it’s all about and why we should all work as a group for the advancement of a community.”

–Francois, Team Haiti 2017


Find 2017 team rankings here.

1. FIRST Global Challenge Award: Awarded to teams that earn the most match points.

      • Gold: Finland
      • Silver: Singapore
      • Bronze: India

2. FIRST Global Grand Challenge Award: Awarded to teams that accrue the most cumulative points over the course of the competition.

      • Gold: Team Europe
      • Silver: Poland
      • Bronze: Armenia

3. Zhang Heng Award for Engineering Design: Awarded to teams whose robot exhibits excellent engineering and displays elegance and effectiveness during the Challenge.

      • Gold: India
      • Silver: Mali
      • Bronze: Mexico

4. Ustad Ahmad Lahori Award for Innovation in Engineering: Awarded to teams that demonstrate creativity and innovation in building their robot to complete an aspect of the Challenge.

      • Gold: Latvia
      • Silver: Indonesia
      • Bronze: Spain

5. Dr. Mae Jemison Award for International Unity: Awarded to teams that emulate the best qualities of FIRST Global by breaking down barriers, demonstrating Gracious Professionalism, and building bridges with fellow teams.

      • Gold: Canada
      • Silver: Australia
      • Bronze: United Arab Emirates

6. Rajaâ Cherkaoui El Moursli Award for Courageous Achievement: Awarded to teams that exhibit a “can-do” attitude throughout the Challenge, even under difficult circumstances, or when things do not go as planned.

      • Gold: South Sudan
      • Silver: Afghanistan
      • Bronze: Oman

7. Sofia Kovalevskaya Award for International Journey: Awarded to teams that documented and shared their FIRST Global experience with the rest of the FIRST Global community.

      • Gold: Nigeria
      • Silver: France
      • Bronze: Madagascar

8. Albert Einstein Award for FIRST Global International Excellence: Awarded to the teams whose robots performed the best during the FIRST Global Challenge and exemplified all of the tenets of the FIRST Global community.

      • Gold: Oceania
      • Silver: Tunisia
      • Bronze: Lebanon

9. Francisco José de Caldas Award for Sustainable Excellence: Awarded to an individual who helped contribute to strong and sustainable FIRST Global programs.

      • Gold: Sue O’Malley (Team Oceania)
      • Silver: Barbara Glover (African Union)
      • Bronze: David Levy (AAAS)

10. Al Khwarizmi Award for Outstanding Supporter: Awarded to an institution, sponsor, or government that has added a positive dimension to the FIRST Global Challenge.

      • Gold: the First Skills Club, nominated by Team Tunisia
      • Silver: Mr. Faysal Jarmakani and Mr. Omar Jarmakani, nominated by Team Nigeria
      • Bronze: the National Institute for Science, Technology, and Innovation, nominated by Team Seychelles