Press Release - March 28, 2013

FIRST® LEGO® League Announces 3rd Annual Global Innovation Award Competition Presented by X PRIZE Foundation

Dean Kamen Inspired by Kid Inventors Worldwide; 5 Million Vote on Finalists

Global Innovation Award Presented by X PRIZE Foundation and supported by The LEGO Group, AARP, Booz Allen Hamilton, Edison Nation, John Deere, and Rockwell Collins

United States Patent and Trademark Office to Recognize Winners in Awards Ceremony


MANCHESTER, N.H., March 28, 2013FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization founded by inventor Dean Kamen, announced that FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) teams across the globe are competing for the chance to win worldwide recognition and a cash award of $20,000 in the third annual FLL Global Innovation Award presented by the X PRIZE Foundation. The award encourages FLL teams, comprised of youths ages 9-16, to submit ideas stemming from their current season’s SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM Challenge.

The Global Innovation Award winning team will receive a cash award of $20,000. The two runners-up will receive $5,000 each. The top three teams will be invited to an awards ceremony at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Alexandria, Va. in June, 2013. Nearly 500 FLL teams submitted ideas for the 2013 competition, and almost 5 million online votes were cast to help determine the finalists.

 “Creativity and new ideas come from everywhere and at any age, and the FLL Global Innovation Award has proven that over the last three years. Young people have an exceptional ability to solve difficult real-world problems,” said inventor Dean Kamen, President of DEKA Research and Development and FIRST Founder. “This award helps students worldwide understand that they, too, can create and invent. Their problem-solving skills are what our future needs in a complex world. FIRST is proud that the X PRIZE Foundation has continued their support for such an outstanding program.”

The 2012-2013 SENIOR SOLUTIONSSM Challenge, still in progress, tasked FLL teams in more than 60 countries to improve the quality of life for seniors by helping them continue to be independent, engaged, and connected in their communities.

X PRIZEs attract the world’s top innovators and support them in tackling the grand challenges faced by society. 

“Kids are natural innovators and the FLL Global Innovation Award gives students a chance to see how much fun they can have changing the world through invention,” said Gregg Maryniak, Secretary of the X Prize Foundation, adding, “We are honored to be the Presenting Sponsor of the Global Innovation Award competition, and to continue the X PRIZE tradition of encouraging new generations of innovators.”

The FLL Global Innovation Award Partners in Innovation Sponsors include: The LEGO Group, Booz Allen Hamilton, John Deere, MasterCard, and Rockwell Collins. Edison Nation is the Go-To Market Sponsor to help winning teams take their product from idea to store shelves. The FLL Global Innovation Award is presented in cooperation with AARP and the USPTO.

The FIRST LEGO League (FLL) is an international program for 9 to 16-year-old children (9 to 14 in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) created in a partnership between FIRST and The LEGO Group in 1998 to get children excited about science and technology and teach them valuable employment and life skills. Using LEGO® MINDSTORMS® technologies and LEGO Education materials, children work alongside adult Coaches to design, build, and program autonomous robots and create an innovative solution to a problem as part of their research project. After eight intense weeks, the competition season culminates at high-energy, sports-like tournaments. Like any other organized “sport,” teams also fundraise, create a team identity, and go on field trips.

The LEGO Group, Founding Partner of FIRST LEGO League, has supported the growth and success of FLL through ongoing funding and donations for more than a dozen years as the program has grown into a global competition. In the 2012-2013 FLL season, the program registered over 200,000 youth worldwide. 

The general public is invited to visit the Global Innovation Award website at http://fllinnovation.firstlegoleague.org.

About the X PRIZE Foundation
Founded in 1995, the X PRIZE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the leading organization solving the world’s Grand Challenges by creating and managing large-scale, high-profile, incentivized prize competitions that stimulate investment in research and development worth far more than the prize itself.  The organization brings about radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity by inspiring the formation of new industries and the revitalization of markets that are currently stuck due to existing failures or a commonly held belief that a solution is not possible.  It motivates brilliant innovators from all disciplines to leverage their intellectual and financial capital.  The X PRIZE Foundation conducts competitions in five Prize Groups: Education; Exploration; Energy & Environment; Global Development; and Life Sciences.  Active prizes include the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE, the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco, and the $10 million Qualcomm Tricorder X PRIZE.  For more information, go to www.xprize.org.

About the USPTO
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the Federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the Executive branch "promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries." The USPTO registers trademarks based on the Commerce Clause of the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3). Under this system of protection, American industry has flourished. New products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and employment opportunities created for millions of Americans. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the Nation's technological progress and achievement.

About the LEGO Group
The LEGO Group is a privately-held firm based in Billund, Denmark. The LEGO Group is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities through high-quality, creatively educational play materials, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen:  "Only the best is good enough."  For more information, visit www.LEGO.com.

About FIRST® 
Accomplished inventor Dean Kamen founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) in 1989 to inspire an appreciation of science and technology in young people. Based in Manchester, N.H., FIRST designs accessible, innovative programs to build self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills while motivating young people to pursue opportunities in science, technology, and engineering. Over 200 of the Fortune 500 companies support FIRST. FIRST offers more than $16 million in college scholarships, and hosts the FIRST® Robotics Competition (FRC® ) for students in Grades 9-12; FIRST® Tech Challenge (FTC® ) for Grades 7-12; FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL® ) for Grades 4-8; and Junior FIRST® LEGO® League (Jr.FLL®) for Grades K-3. Gracious Professionalism® is a way of doing things that encourages high-quality work, emphasizes the value of others, and respects individuals and the community. To learn more about FIRST, go to www.usfirst.org.

FIRST and the FIRST logo are registered trademarks of the United States Foundation For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST). LEGO® is a registered trademark of The LEGO Group. 

Media Contacts:

Cheryl Walsh, FIRST
Ph: 603-206-2460