Robots collide on Uni campus at FIRST® LEGO® League tournament

Tuesday 15 December 2015

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Students from across the West Midlands competed in a science and technology based competition, which aimed to encourage young students to become more involved with STEM subjects.

Originally set up in 1988 by FIRST® (For Inspiration & Recognition of Science & Technology) and toy manufacturer LEGO, the FIRST® LEGO® event was supported by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. Taking place on the 16th December the FLL was a fantastic success, with students from nine schools across the region attending and competing. Each team consisted of 9-16 year old competitors all hoping to earn a place representing the UK in the finals, which take place early next year in February 2016.

This year’s competition theme was ‘TRASH TREK’ - which challenged competitors to investigate, and try to resolve the way we deal with our waste, having to produce a viable solution to the issue.

Taking place in the university’s engineering and computing building, the students’ were tasked with creating and building a LEGO mindstorm robot, which would then be used to solve problems and complete intricate waste related tasks. Not only were the students judged on their ability to build and programme the robots, but also their research and presentation skills, as well as the team working abilities they demonstrated throughout the event.

Gareth James, Head of Education 5-19 at the IET, said:

The IET runs competitions like FIRST® LEGO® League to show young people the merits of engineering and the excitement, creativity and importance behind it. In order to tackle the engineering skills gap we need more graduates and apprentices to enter the profession, and this can only happen if more school-age children are attracted to STEM subjects - competitions like FLL are therefore vital.”


Patricia Ashman, Associate Head of School Mechanical, Aerospace and Automotive, said:

It was a privilege to welcome so many schools to our EC building and see the outstanding levels of STEM excellence being achieved by our young future: engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians. Our Deputy Dean, Ray Farmer, introduced the events theme - Trash Trek - and illustrated some of the environmental issues related to it, in a fun and relevant way using the film Wall-E. Due to the success of the event we are hoping to provide mentors and coaches for next year, and use this as a vehicle for promoting STEM careers and more applicants to our University of the Year."

For further information, please contact James Stride, PR Assistant, Coventry University, on +44 (0)24 7765 4562 or email



  • The IET is one of the world’s largest engineering institutions with over 163,000 members in 127 countries. It is also the most interdisciplinary – to reflect the increasingly diverse nature of engineering in the 21st century. Energy, transport, manufacturing, information and communications, and the built environment: the IET covers them all.
  • The IET is working to engineer a better world by inspiring, informing and influencing our members, engineers and technicians, and all those who are touched by, or touch, the work of engineers.
  • We want to build the profile of engineering and change out-dated perceptions about engineering in order to tackle the skills gap. This includes encouraging more women to become engineers and growing the number of engineering apprentices.