FIRST Global Higher Education Network

To inspire science and technology leadership and innovation in young people from all nations in order to increase understanding, impress the importance of cooperation, address the world’s most pressing issues, and improve quality of life for all, FIRST Global is inviting select universities to become a part of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network. Through the prestigious institutions on the FIRST Global Higher Education Network Leadership Board, FIRST Global will partner with universities around the world to increase access to STEM education, further international collaboration and cooperation, and connect future innovators with institutions of higher education.


The mission of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network is to serve as a global catalyst for uniting the world by inspiring an increased interest and involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) worldwide through shared access to resources, technology, and mentorship.


The FIRST Global Higher Education Network connects universities around the world with:

  • a pipeline of innovators and future leaders in STEM
  • a global support infrastructure
  • a broad network of government officials, corporations, and international leaders, and
  • world-wide media exposure.


Through expanded outreach, shared resources, and combined connections the FIRST Global Higher Education Network will equip the next generation of leaders to solve the most pressing engineering challenges and ensure that students worldwide have the support and resources necessary to be inspired and succeed in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics.

Higher Education Network – Partners

FIRST Global Higher Education Network Leadership Board

The FIRST Global Higher Education Network Leadership Board is comprised of five universities. These universities are uniquely qualified to provide unparalleled support in STEM disciplines and are positioned to grow the Higher FIRST Global Education Network through relationships with fellow institutions internationally. The inaugural Education Leadership Board consists of:


Technion – Israel Institute of Technology: The Technion is one of the premier science and technology research universities in the world, and the oldest in Israel. It is dedicated to the creation of knowledge and the development of human capital and leadership for the advancement of the country and all humanity. The university offers degrees in science and engineering, and related fields such as architecture, medicine, industrial management and education, and is often cited as one of the factors behind the growth of Israel’s high-tech industry and innovation.


Tecnológico de Monterrey: Tecnológico de Monterrey’s vision is to educate leaders who have an entrepreneurial spirit, a humanistic outlook and are internationally competitive. It is a private nonprofit comprehensive university with 26 campuses in Mexico and nearly 90,000 students. It is internationally recognized for its strong reputation among employers and its entrepreneurial orientation, and it is consistently ranked among the Top universities in Latin America.


Tsinghua University: Tsinghua University is a leading research university located in Beijing, China. As one of China’s most prestigious and influential universities, Tsinghua University is devoted to is dedicated to advancing the well-being of Chinese society and global development. Tsinghua University hosts 20 colleges that span the fields of science, engineering, arts and literature, social sciences, law, medicine.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute: WPI was founded in 1865 to create and convey science and engineering knowledge in ways that would be most useful to the society from which its students came. In 2017, WPI provided over 100 students to assist in the FIRST Global STEM Corps.


Yale University: Yale is committed to improving the world and for future generations through outstanding research and scholarship, education, preservation, and practice. Yale educates aspiring leaders worldwide who serve all sectors of society. They carry out this mission through the free exchange of ideas in an ethical, interdependent, and diverse community of faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Your Institution’s Role in the FIRST Global Higher Education Network

Participating institutions in the FIRST Global Higher Education Network are partnered with their nation’s FIRST Global robotics team. This partnership provides teams with technical assistance related to robotics and, more importantly, establishes a conduit between FIRST Global teams and technical education. The partnership will develop as a key component of the FIRST Global experience, thereby providing avenues for FIRST Global alumni to further their education in STEM before joining the technical workforce.


Members of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network will provide technical expertise and insights that extend beyond the competition playing field. From a technical perspective, the higher education resources can help FIRSTGlobal teams provide more reliable and robust competition robots. As mentors, they will inspire students to pursue STEM education and careers, with their institution becoming a natural location to pursue higher education.


The primary responsibilities of participating institutions of higher education are technical mentoring (on the tasks associated with designing, building, and programming FIRST Global robots) and inspiring students to continue their technical studies.  FIRST Global Higher Education Network mentors will provide training and guide their nation’s FIRST Global teams along a solution path. It is suggested that a faculty member be identified to serve as the primary advisor for this project, assisted in the activity by students and staff.


Participants can host the team at the college, university, or institute to provide a work site and competition practice area. FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions may also contribute to other FIRST Global activities, such as expanding the number of students participating in FIRST Global as well as selecting participants to represent their nation at FIRST Global competitions. It is not expected that members of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network provide financial assistance to their nation’s team, leaving this support for others to provide.


More information about the partnership start date will be available in the coming months for the 2019 competition.

The Global STEM Corps

The Global STEM Corps is FIRST Global’s answer to a world in need of an inspired generation of youth ready to tackle the world’s challenges. GSC volunteers work to equip, train, mentor, and inspire high-school-age students from over 150 countries as they build their robot in preparation for the FIRST Global Challenge. Learn More →

Frequently Asked Questions

What is FIRST Global?

FIRST Global is a nonprofit organization that promotes science, technology, engineering, and math education and career development by involving students from around the world in a robotics competition modeled after the Olympic Games. One team from each nation is invited to participate in the FIRST Global Competition where they design, construct, and program a robot for a sports-like competition using a standard kit of components. The teams of high school youth, mentored by adults, design and build their robots between March and the summer, convening for the competition.

Why is FIRST Global important?

The world faces many challenges that can only be solved through the applications of science and technology. Science and technology do not have national borders. FIRST Global is an important program to empower youth with knowledge and help them understand that cooperation and collaboration can solve the world’s grand challenges and improve the future.

What is the role of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network?

The FIRST Global Higher Education Network is an affiliation of institutions of higher education that support their nation’s FIRST Global team. FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions primarily provide technical mentorship to their national team in the areas of robot design, mechanical and electrical systems integration, and programming.

What responsibilities would my University have as a member of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network?

Each participating institution in the FIRST Global Higher Education Network can develop a level of support that best serves  the institution and their national team. While some institutions may host the national team on their campus and provide technical mentors, other institutions may simply elect to periodically send mentors to the local team’s off-campus work site. The level of involvement is a decision made by each institution.

What are the benefits to my institution of joining the FIRST Global Higher Education Network?

FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions are important collaborators in a new global movement to inspire and unite students and prepare them for their futures. The inaugural FIRST Global Competition was held in 2017 and attracted 157 nations. Participating institutions are united in their focus to bring together individuals and organizations who can then solve the world’s most pressing technology problems. In addition to the prestige associated with this endeavor, FIRST Global Higher Education Network participants have an opportunity to use this program to attract their nation’s top students to their institution.

What resources are available to help FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions succeed?

A kit of components is provided to the national team. On-line text and video resources on robot design, fabrication, and programming are provided to FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions. In addition, technical assistance on robot design, fabrication, and programming is provided to FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions from experienced volunteers. This assistance is commonly provided using internet-based technologies, including email and live-streaming services.

Should we appoint a faculty member as a leader of such an activity, or should this activity be organized only by students?

It is advised that a faculty member lead an institution’s involvement in the FIRST Global Higher Education Network, supported by student mentors who could work with the national team members.

How do we register as a member of the FIRST Global Higher Education Network?

The institutional lead can fill out the form at the top of this page and we will be in touch.

Should the university commit to any financial expenses if we join the FIRST Global Higher Education Network?

It is not expected that the FIRST Global Higher Education Network participants provide financial support to their national FIRST Global team.

Who covers the expenses of the high school students who participate in the FIRST Global Competition?

The cost for participating in the FIRST Global Competition is the responsibility of each nation. Most participating teams receive funding from a combination of government, industry, philanthropic and personal support.

Can you provide information regarding the national teams in FIRST Global?

A list of participants is available at

If we agree in principle to participate, when is the starting date?

FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions can immediately begin to become familiar with the FIRST Global Competition and robot resources. Each institution will be introduced to your national FIRST Global team as soon as they are identified, thereby allowing local connections to follow. For the 2019 cycle, this is likely to begin in late winter or early spring of 2019.

Organizing such activities on campus may require dedicated manpower. Would FIRST Global help me to identify financial sources to support FIRST Global Higher Education Network activities?

FIRST Global will inform FIRST Global Higher Education Network institutions of existing supporters of the national team. FIRST Global is not positioned to assist FIRST Global Higher Education Network identify additional potential supporters.