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  • Writer's pictureJonDarr Bradshaw

Award Updates for the 2023 Season

Updated: Oct 5, 2022

Written by Fiona Hanlon, FIRST Robotics Competition Team Experience Specialist

With the season coming up quickly, we wanted to share some changes to judging and awards for the 2023 season.

Speaking of awards, don’t forget to check out the great award resources available on the Awards webpage such as the Inside look at the Judging Process, Practice Interview Questions, the newly updated Dean’s List Award Guide, and more!

No Remote Interviews

Last season, we allowed remote interviews to occur for the Dean’s List Award at any event as well as allowing some events to conduct all of their interviews remotely to help with pandemic restrictions. After reviewing survey data, over half of teams indicated that they did not like participating in remote interviews and that they strongly preferred in-person interviews for all awards. We also received feedback from judges, judge advisors, and Program Delivery Partners that conducting remote interviews was much more complicated and harder to implement. With this feedback in mind, we have decided to remove the option for remote interviews and all interviews will occur in person for the 2023 season.

FIRST® Impact Award (Previously the Chairman’s Award) Feedback Form Updates

Last season, we announced that there was a change to the feedback form, and we would be providing feedback to all teams that interviewed for the Chairman’s Award (now FIRST® Impact Award), but it would be only on the essay. We started with feedback on just the essay as we were unsure how much additional time it would take to write feedback for every team. Teams received their feedback via email from the Judge Advisor a couple days after the event. This process last season was the first step towards an improvement that would take a little extra time to implement. I am happy to share that this season, we are able to implement the additional changes.

This season, all teams that interview will receive feedback on both the interview and their submission. The feedback will answer 3 questions:

  1. An area the team has an opportunity to improve,

  2. Something that really impressed the judges, and

  3. A team submitted question (optional) – When submitting for the FIRST Impact Award, teams will see a new field allowing them to enter 1 question that judges will answer

    1. Please note that this new question may not be showing when submissions open on November 3rd. We encourage teams to not submit for this award until they see this question. We will keep teams updated via the Team Blasts if the question is not showing when the submission opens.

Teams will receive this feedback for all Regional and District Events automatically 48 hours after the event. We will share more details on where to find the feedback in the coming months.

Check out the Submitted Awards webpage for all the details on the award including the updated information on the FIRST Impact Award Feedback.

Team Sustainability Award

A few years ago, we restructured the Entrepreneurship award from a pre-submitted award due in early February to a summary business plan that teams would bring to the event. The hope was that this would allow more teams to be eligible for this award as they had more time to prepare the business plan. Unfortunately, this change was not as successful as intended as we were still seeing very few teams submit for this award, so we went back to the drawing boards to think through what else could be done.

In looking at the award and thinking through what we were trying to celebrate, we discussed how business plans are helpful to team sustainability as they assist teams in thinking through various components of their team and reflecting on their culture, goals, and needs. With this in mind, we have renamed the award, updated the award guidelines to be more focused on team sustainability, and removed the requirement to bring a business plan to the event to help ensure that every team at the event will be eligible for the award.

While a business plan is no longer required, we do still encourage teams to prepare one as it does help teams prepare to be sustainable and help recruit sponsors. Information on creating a business plan as well as example business plans can be found in Section 1.2 of the Fundraising Toolkit.

Highest Rookie Seed Award Change

The Highest Rookie Seed Award is a performance-based award that recognizes the Rookie team which was highest ranked at an event. Beginning in the 2023 season, this award will only be presented at events with more than 1 Rookie at them.

We are hopeful that with these changes, we will continue to improve the team experience. Feel free to reach out to with any questions or suggestions.

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