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  NASA FIRST Robotics Competition Sponsorship Application Directions for the 2017 Competition Season


FIRST Robotics Competition scholarships are limited to high school students who are involved or planning to get involved in school related robotics clubs or organizations. These clubs and originations must have the intention of inspiring students to pursue higher education and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), as well as, working with schools and teachers to integrate robotics education into daily curriculum.

Welcome to the NASA FIRST Robotics Competition application process for the 2017 competition season. We are very excited that your team is planning to participate in FIRST Robotics Competition this year. You are choosing to provide students with the opportunity to use their minds to accomplish an incredible task: starting with ideas that exist only in the minds of your team members and then creating a functioning robot in only few weeks. Wow! As you get started with the process of applying for sponsorship from NASA, we want to explain a few things to you.

Important Dates:
  • Application Closes:
  • Post Awards
  • Grant Requirements Submission Deadline:
  • Entrance survey deadline:
  • Exit survey deadline:
Friday, September 30, 2016, 23:59:59 PDT
Friday, November 11, 2016, 23:59:59 (PST)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 18:00:00 PST
Saturday, January 7 2017 23:59:59 PST
Thursday, June 1 2017 23:59:59 PDT
Several Important Notes for Filling out an Application:
  • NASA will stop accepting applications after: Friday, September 30, 2016, 23:59:59 PDT

  • Important notice: Final grant awards are contingent on continuing resolution and the availability of congressional funding.

  • NOTE: "FIRST Robotics Competition" refers to a request for a registration scholarship for a specific class of competition, at a specific location, beginning at a specific time. The Registration Scholarship if awarded pays your registration fee. These awards are not transferable. Typically these registrations fees run from $5,000 to $6,000 depending on the status of the applicant.

  • This grant is only available for the FIRST Robotics Competition, FRC, program level.

  • Please include only office/business contact information (phone number, email, etc.)

  • Do not use the BACK or REFRESH browser buttons while navigating this site. Doing so may cause the loss of your data.

  • You will have to register on our web site to be able to submit an application. After reading and agreeing with the statement at the bottom of the page, click the button to be taken to the registration area. Registration is for access to the NASA sponsorship application site only and does NOT register you with FIRST Robotics Competition.

  • NOTE: You will not be able to submit an application until you have a FIRST team number (either temporary or final team number).

  • For non-rookie teams, you will use the team number you used in the past. Rookie teams will need to register with FIRST and receive a team number before they can submit an application.

  • After you login into the application you will be able to save your work in progress and return to it at a later time for completion. NOTE: a saved application does not constitute a submission. Your application will not be submitted until you click on the submit button and are presented with the submittal status message on the top of the page. After a successful submittal you will also receive an email confirmation. (If you do not receive an email confirmation of your application submittal please check your junk mail/spam folder)

  • You may only apply for ONE NASA grant each year. Modifications to an application or resubmissions do not count against this limit.

  • The data you provide will be automatically validated for technical accuracy after you click on the save/submit button. Problem areas will turn red and must be corrected before the data can be saved or submitted. NOTE: Your application has not been saved or submitted until the application saved or submitted status is presented on the top of the application page. After submittal please print the confirmation page for your records and as proof of your submission.

  • It is encouraged to answer essay questions in a text editor of your choice, then once complete, cut and paste your answers into the appropriate text box within the web application.

  • In the event that a particular field is flagged while saving or submitting an application,  that field can be left bank in order to SAVE existing work. Once the issue surrounding the flagged question is resolved and your application is complete you will be able to submit it.

  • The application page has a 120 minute timeout and starts from the moment you login. If you exceed the 120 minute timeout without saving your application you will automatically be logged out of the website, in this case all your unsaved data will be lost. Each time you save or submit your application the session timer will be reset so you will have an additional 120 minutes to complete your application. NOTE: The website will stop accepting applications promptly at the specified deadline, in which case, you will not be able to extend your session or submit an application after the deadline even when logged into the website.

  • You will need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

  • Applications will be accepted between Thursday, September 8, 2016, 00:00:00 PDT and Friday, September 30, 2016, 23:59:59 PDT. Applications submitted after Friday, September 30, 2016, 23:59:59 PDT will not be considered.

  • NASA will review submitted applications and inform teams of their selection via the NASA Robotics Alliance Project (RAP) web site ( It is our plan to announce selections no later than Friday, November 11, 2016, 23:59:59 (PST). Please note that this is our current best estimate for the announcement date. The date may have to change due to circumstances beyond our control. If this should happen, a revised estimate of the announcement date will be posted on the RAP web site as quickly as possible.

  • Please do not wait until the last minute to login and submit your application, the website will stop accepting applications promptly at the specified deadline, regardless of when you logged in.

  • NOTE: The Opera browser is incompatible with this website. Please use the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome or Safari.


For the purposes of applying for a NASA sponsorship, teams are grouped into three categories - "rookie," "second-year" and "veteran." In all cases, we accept the identifications provided by the FIRST Robotics Competition to determine into which category a particular team may fall. The categories are defined as follows:

  • Rookie - A Rookie Team is one that is entering the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) for the first time. For this application process, we use the criteria provided by FIRST to determine if a team is a rookie or not.

  • Second-Year - A Second-Year Team is one that was identified by FIRST as a rookie team during the 2016 FRC competition season (the 2016 competition season refers to the season that began in January 2016) AND was sponsored by NASA during the 2016 competition season. To be eligible to apply for a second year NASA grant, the team must have successfully registered, created a team, built a robot, competed in at least one 2016 FIRST Robotics Competition event, and successfully completed all the requirements of their NASA grant. In the event that a NASA funded team was a Rookie Team prior to 2016 and did not apply for Second-Year Status the following year or did apply and was not awarded Second-Year Status, they may not apply for this category even if they did not compete during that year.

  • Veteran - A Veteran Team is any team registered with FIRST that had their rookie year during the 2015 FRC competition season (the 2015 competition season refers to the season that began in January 2015) or earlier OR was a Rookie Team in 2016 and not funded by NASA.

Types Of Sponsorship:
    Three types of NASA sponsorship are available to teams. These are described below. Teams may only apply for one type of NASA sponsorship.

    NOTE: The numbers of grants to be awarded indicated below are our current best estimates. The exact number of grants awarded for each type of NASA grant sponsorship will be determined by the number of eligible applications received, the total available resources, and the availability of Congressionally appropriated funds.

  • Regional Challenge Grants: In conjunction with the sponsorship of Regional Competition events, NASA is making Regional Challenge Grants available to teams that participate in these specific events. The grants provide funding to cover the registration costs for the selected event. All funding will be sent directly to FIRST, and FIRST will credit the accounts of teams selected to receive a NASA sponsorship.
    Rookie Teams: The Regional Challenge Grants are intended for new rookie teams that are entering the FRC program for the first time. Rookie teams that successfully participate in the 2016 program may apply for a second year of Regional Challenge Grant sponsorship in 2017.

    Second-Year Teams: Second-year funding is available ONLY to those teams that received a "rookie year sponsorship" from NASA for the SAME event during the 2016 competition season.

    Veteran Teams: Additionally, during the first year of a new Regional Competition event, a number of "veteran team" sponsorships will also be awarded. These sponsorships are for one year only, and are awarded to veteran teams that are electing to attend the new event. By involving veteran FRC teams in the new events, it is expected that the overall level of the competition, quality of the experience, transfer of knowledge and experience to rookie teams, and demonstration of values associated with the FRC program will be increased.
    For the competition season, Regional Challenge Grants will be available to veteran teams for the following events:

    Rocket City Regional (Huntsville, AL) up to 20 grants
  • Program Growth Grants: Program Growth Grants are being offered to teams in their first two years of participation in the FIRST Robotics Competition. These sponsorships are not tied to any particular competition event. The grants will provide funding to cover the registration costs for the team to attend their 1st competition event. Program Growth Grants are awarded for up to two years. All funding will be sent directly to FIRST, and FIRST will credit the accounts of teams selected to receive a NASA Program Growth Grant.
    Second-year teams: Priority will be given to second-year teams that received a NASA Program Growth Grant as a rookie during the 2016 season. Based on their successful participation in the 2016 season, and their continued participation in FIRST Robotics Competition program, any of these teams may apply for a second year of sponsorship for the 2017 season.

    Rookie teams: After the second-year teams are selected, any remaining resources may be applied to applications received from teams that will be rookies during the 2017 competition season (as defined by FIRST). Depending upon the availability of Congressionally appropriated funding, rookie teams that successfully participate in the program in 2017 may apply for a second year of sponsorship for the 2018 season.

    Veteran teams: Except as noted above, these NASA sponsorship programs are primarily intended to provide support for rookie teams that are just entering the FIRST Robotics Competition program. The intent of Program Growth Grants is to assist in the formation of new teams. However, it may not be possible to award all available sponsorships to qualified second-year or rookie teams. In this event, qualified veteran teams that have applied for sponsorship may be selected. Applications for Program Growth Grants from veteran teams will be considered after all rookie team and second-year team applications have been evaluated.
  • Sustaining Grants: It is recognized that this is again an extraordinarily difficult year for many teams due to the national economic situation. Due to the extreme circumstances, many long-term teams have lost significant corporate sponsorship and are on the brink of ceasing operations. It is our intent to provide short-term assistance to those teams to allow them to continue productive participation in the program while they identify and acquire new long-term sponsorship. Toward that end, NASA will accept applications for "Sustaining Grants" to provide registration awards for qualified veteran teams. Sustaining Grants are intended to help teams on the verge of dissolution, and are not intended funding for participation in second or third competition events.

    To qualify, teams must document that they have lost one or more of the primary financial sponsors that they had during the 2016 season, and explain how this loss of sponsorship affects the potential for survival of the team. The team must also describe their plans for recovery of long-term sponsorship, and how this will be acquired in time to sustain the team beyond the 2017 season.

    The Sustaining Grants are one-year, one-time grants, and may not be offered again in the future.


  • While NASA strongly supports the expansion of FIRST Robotics Competition into an international event, we regret that we cannot offer sponsorships to non-US teams.

  • Applications from second-year and veteran teams previously funded by NASA will not be accepted if all the requirements of the original grant have not been satisfied. Please make sure that any outstanding requirements are completed and submitted prior to submitting an application for a 2017 grant.
All teams selected by NASA agree to the following conditions of sponsorship. Teams not complying with all sponsorship requirements will not be considered for future NASA grants and may be required to provide reimbursement of funds applied toward their team during the competition year.
  1. "NASA" MUST BE IDENTIFIED as a team sponsor and appear in the sponsored team's official name on record with FIRST. Other sponsors may be listed before or after NASA, but NASA must be included.

  2. All student team members MUST COMPLETE a brief general online survey at the beginning and end of the season to assist NASA in assessing the impact of the program. Teams will be made aware of this survey via e-mails sent to the main team contact. Please make sure that the e-mail address you provide for the main contact is kept current.

  3. Sponsored teams MUST COMPLETE and submit an annual report (aka Chairman's Award) to NASA.

  4. A robot MUST BE COMPLETED by the deadline specified by FIRST and shipped to the appropriate competition.

  5. If the sponsorship is associated with a specific regional event, sponsored teams MUST ATTEND the specific event for which the sponsorship was awarded. Additionally, teams agree to attend all days of the sponsored competition.

  6. Sponsorship MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED to another team; it must be used by the original team applying for sponsorship.

  7. IMPORTANT: Following your registration you will receive one additional request for data at the main contact's registered email. In addition to your application submission you will need to supply the following supplemental documentation before, Wednesday, December 14, 2016 18:00:00 PST. We must receive an email from your educational institution sponsor (school or other educational entity (4-H, Non-Profit, Scout Troop, etc)) endorsing the team's desire to apply for funding, confirming the educational sponsor's commitment to the team, and agreeing to the conditions of sponsorship. This must be sent in electronic form as an email or scanned copy of a letter to, must originate from the official email account of the educational institution sponsor (Principal, Assistant Principal, or equivalent), and must include your FIRST Robotics Competition team number and the name of your school IN THE SUBJECT LINE. If you have questions about this requirement, please contact us at Failure to submit such a letter will result in your application not being considered for funding.

Additionally, teams applying for a second year NASA sponsorship must:
  • Demonstrate at least $5,000 of existing corporate or community funding, and
  • Agree to mentor a rookie FIRST team either directly or via telephone/email.
    Contact Information:

    Should you have any questions please send an email to We will attempt to respond to your message within twenty-four (24) hours.

      The following links will take you to a secure site. All information will be encrypted during transmission. The site contains a registered SSL certificate signed by U.S. Government secure certificate authority (CA). However, the certificate is not recognized by all browsers and may give you a non-trusted site warning.

    Please note that this site collects a wide array of information to allow us to effectively review and assess proposals. The contact information collected here will never be shared with anyone outside of the Robotics Alliance Project Office.

    If you have any questions or concerns about the collection of this data, please contact us at: .

      The NASA FRC application for robotics competition sponsorship is now closed.
    This page remains available for informational purposes.
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    Author: Robotics Alliance Project Office
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    Last Updated: 2 September 2014
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