Regional champions crowned in Global LEGO challenge held in Birmingham

A worldwide tournament to build global problem-solving robots out of LEGO has a new regional UK champion following a day of engineering excitement at the University of Birmingham.

The County High School, Leftwich from Northwich in Cheshire will now go through to the national finals of the FIRST LEGO League Challenge, from which a team will be chosen to represent the UK at the World Festival in the US city of St Louis in Missouri.

FlRST LEGO League is a global science and technology challenge for teams of schoolchildren aged nine-16 aimed at encouraging an interest in real-world issues and the development of key careers skills. The youngsters work together to explore a given topic and to design, build and program an autonomous LEGO robot to solve a series of missions.

More than 233,000 children from in excess of 80 countries are competing in this year’s challenge, which is entitled Trash Trek. The aim is to build robot structures using LEGO to deal with the collection, sorting, smart production and re-use of rubbish.

More than 100 children from 12 schools across the West Midlands, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire battled it out in the regional leg on Tuesday, 15 December, at the University of Birmingham’s Munrow Sports Centre on Tuesday, 15 December.

Each team of up to ten children presented their research project into mastering the disposal and recycling of rubbish, and displayed their prowess in designing, building and programming a robot. Teams were also assessed on their team-working, robot design and the performance of their robot in undertaking 12 missions, from salvage and composting to transport and demolition.

Dr Tim Jackson, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham’s School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering, which hosted the annual event, said he hoped the contest would inspire youngsters to take up degrees and apprenticeships in engineering.

“It was the third year running we had hosted the regional tournament, as part of our work with the Institute of Engineering and Technology to develop outreach programmes, and it was another resounding success,” he said. “It’s a fun way to learn more about science and engineering – as well as important global issues – and we hope it will encourage the young people who took part to consider doing degrees and apprenticeships in engineering.

“The FIRST LEGO League inspires children to be creative in applying what they learn in science and engineering to the wider world and to develop cooperation skills. The promotion of science and engineering subjects within schools is important to meeting the need of a knowledge-based economy for a well-educated, technically-trained workforce.”

Note to editors

  • The tournament took place at the Munrow Sports Centre at the University of Birmingham on Tuesday, 15 December
  • FIRST LEGO League Challenge sponsors include LEGO, Rockwell International, 3M, Statoil and National Instruments
  • In the UK, the FIRST LEGO League is run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology. The School of Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Birmingham is a regional project partner.

For more information on the FIRST LEGO League, go to
Further information on Electronic, Electrical and Systems Engineering.

For further media information:
Kate Chapple, Press Office, University of Birmingham, tel: 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.