Popular “Once Upon A Robot” writing competition and “Draw A Robot” design challenges return; entries invited from all Key Stage 1 & 2 children, with chance to win unique prizes

London, UK, April 14 2021—The organisers of the popular annual UK Robotics Week celebration – now the UK Festival of Robotics – today announce the return of their robot drawing and story competitions, inviting primary school children nationwide to share their robot-inspired creativity with a team of top judges. The inaugural competitions in 2020 attracted an impressive number of entries from primary school-age children up and down the country, and this year’s competitions promise to be even bigger and better following the re-opening of UK schools last month.

For the “Draw A Robot” competition, children in Key Stage 1 (aged 5 – 7 years old) have the chance to draw a robot that they’d like to see in the future. The robot could be designed to accomplish any task or job – the sky’s the limit! The children will be able to submit a robot drawing, up to 200-word description, and five key features (labelled on the drawing). The “Once Upon A Robot” writing competition is open to all Key Stage 2 children (aged 7-11 years old), and challenges competition participants to write an 800-word story featuring any kind of robot their imagination can conjure. The story could take place on Earth, in space or even on another planet!  

The two competitions will be judged by robotics experts from the organising ESPRC UK-RAS Network, plus two very special invited judges. The writing competition will be judged this year by writer, comedian, podcaster and history presenter Iszi Lawrence, author of The Unstoppable Letty Pegg. The drawing competition will be judged by Fiona MacDonald, Head of Learning at the Design Museum in London.

There are fabulous prizes on offer, including a MakeBlock Codey Rocky Robot (courtesy of FAIR-SPACE), a Thames Komos Coding & Robotics Kit (provided by RAIN), plus some unique and exclusive prizes courtesy of our guest judges. For more information, details of prizes, judging criteria and to submit an entry, please visit https://www.ukras.org/school-robot-competition/.

Both competitions are open for entry now and will close on 23rd May 2021. The winners will be announced during the online UK Festival of Robotics (19th – 25th June 2021) at a virtual award ceremony.

EPSRC UK-RAS Network Chair Robert Richardson comments: “We are delighted to be able once again to host these two exciting challenges for the nation’s schoolchildren. The fantastic creativity and ingenuity demonstrated by our competition entrants has become a real highlight of our annual robotics celebrations. We are looking forward immensely to reviewing this year’s entries, and providing a platform to showcase the creative achievements of pupils and their schools.”

These two creative competitions for young children were launched in 2020 for UK Robotics Week, now the UK Festival of Robotics – a 7-day celebration of robotics and intelligent systems in June 2021. This exciting programme will run from 19th – 25th June and feature online events, competitions, and activities for robot enthusiasts of all ages. Now in its 6th year, this annual celebration is hosted by the EPSRC UK Robotics and Autonomous Systems (UK-RAS) Network, which provides academic leadership in robotics and coordinates activities at over 30 partner universities across the UK.

The Festival will be the centrepiece of the Network’s Robotics Summer Showcase, a 3-month programme of online events in the summer of 2021 showcasing the cutting edge in UK robotics research and industry to a diverse range of audiences. Running from May to July, the Robotics Summer Showcase will include a variety of events from across the Network aimed at engaging the RAS community, helping to create meaningful connections and foster collaboration.

For more information on the competitions and activities for children available during the UK Festival of Robotics and the Robotics Summer Showcase, please visit: https://www.ukras.org/robotics-summer-showcase/