Singapore will host the seventh edition of an international robotics challenge for youth in October, the first time the annual competition will be held in Asia. And YUVA Mauritius is the official partner of the event.
Around 190 countries will send a team each to Singapore to compete in the “Olympic-style” contest organised by the United States-based non-profit group First Global, which promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STEM – education.
First Global founder Dean Kamen, the inventor of the self-balancing Segway scooter, said Singapore’s focus on innovation and sustainability aligns with the theme of the competition this year – clean energy.
“They (Singapore) exemplify the importance of increased investments in renewable energy technologies to improve the health of our planet and ensure a cleaner and more equitable energy future,” said Mr Kamen in a statement on Wednesday.
Singapore’s Ambassador to the US, Mr Ashok Mirpuri, said the contest’s themes of education, technology and innovation resonate with Singapore, a small country with no resources.
“All those lights… in Singapore have to be fuelled by something. We have no energy resources of our own. We have to import our energy,” said Mr Mirpuri on Tuesday at a reception where Singapore’s host status this year was announced.
The competition’s focus on clean energy is also timely, given Singapore’s launch of its national hydrogen strategy in October 2022, said the ambassador.
Singapore seeks to generate up to half of its energy needs from low-carbon hydrogen by 2050.
Said Mr Mirpuri: “Singapore is also the test bed for so many things. And as many of these students come to Singapore, I hope that they will one day maybe live and work in Singapore, testing new ideas, new innovations and new technologies that are not just for Singapore but are for the world.”
Singapore has been represented by a team from Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) in every First Global Challenge since 2017. Medals are awarded to the winners. Previous editions of the annual competition were held in Dubai, Geneva, Mexico City and Washington, as well as virtually during the height of the pandemic.
First Global’s Mr Kamen said the challenge aims to nurture cross-cultural cooperation among youth from around the world.
“Politics divides the world, but science and technology can unite and give the kids the tools to solve their common problems,” he said at Tuesday’s event.
To compete, each nation must send a team of three to five members aged 14 to 18 to design and build a robot from a standard kit of parts.
Teams must then work together to navigate their robot in a simulated world to produce hydrogen and use it to store, transport and convert energy.
The competition, which will be held from Oct 7 to Oct 10, is chiefly sponsored by US semiconductor company Lam Research, which has donated US$10 million (S$13.3 million) to First Global.
It is also sponsored by the Singapore Government, the US Department of Energy and others.
Lam Research chief communications officer Stacey MacNeil said that organisations like First Global are critical for inspiring students around the world.
“In some of those countries, their vision is limited by their immediate circumstances. To open their minds to the world of possibilities… and to get them to maybe think about education in the area of science and technology, engineering and maths is really important,” she said.
FIRST Global Challenge 2023 Theme
As our dependence on energy continues to grow, it becomes increasingly important to innovate the solutions that will ensure a cleaner and more equitable energy future around the world. By advancing renewable energy technologies, we can create more sustainable ways to power our planet.
We’re excited to announce that the 2023 FIRST Global Challenge theme is Hydrogen Horizons.