Short essay competition for high school students in France!

Version française ici !
(French version here!)

Update – Deadline for submissions extended to February 15th, 2023!

RoboCup is coming to your home country in 2023 and we would like teams of high school students in France to join the The RoboCupRescue Rapidly Manufactured Robot Challenge (RMRC) competition in solving some of the biggest challenges facing first responders!

From the 4th to the 11th of July, 2023, thousands of students from all over the world will come to the Parc des Expositions in Bordeaux to compete and share  what they have developed  and their learning experiences. The RMRC is one of the many competitions being held as part of RoboCup 2023 and is open to teams of high school and university students. In this competition, teams build robots and test them in an arena designed to replicate many of the unsolved challenges that  firefighters, rescuers, and other first responders face in real life.

To foster the involvement of local area teams, RoboCupRescue and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Robotics and Automation Society (RAS) are running a short essay competition for teams in France!

This is how to apply:

Send a one-page essay that answers the following:

Robots, such as those used to rescue people or deal with hazardous materials, are increasingly featured in popular media and in the news. Identify and briefly describe a problem that they have, and present a possible solution.

It may concern robots used in any rescue or response robotics application, across ground, on-water, under-water, and air. Hint – find some information in the media, news and/or research articles! Examples include:

  • Aerial robots used to keep watch in forest fires.
  • Ground robots used to inspect suspicious packages.
  • Snake robots used to look for survivors in collapsed buildings.
  • Under-water robots used to check the foundations of bridges after an earthquake.
  • On-water robots used to deliver flotation devices to someone who has fallen off a ship.

Here are the essay Requirements:

  • The essay  may be written in English or French.
  • The essay, including title, author(s), institution, and contact details, should fit onto one side of an A4 paper, with no text smaller than 10 point font and all borders no less than 20 mm. Here are some additional hints.
    • The essay will be judged based on how well it demonstrates an understanding of open problems in the field, imagination in problem solving, quality of writing, and presentation on the page for readability.
    • Longer is not better! A concise, well written and formatted short essay that answers the question need not fill the page to score well.
    • Fancy is not better! There is no set style or format required but it should be easy to read and understand.
    • More technical is not better! It should be written at a level suitable for an average high school technology enthusiast to read and understand.
    • You don’t need to pick the biggest problem! There are many problems, big and small, that need tackling. Here are some examples to give you some ideas.
      • Robots currently require a lot of training to use. How can robots be made more easily usable by as many people as possible, perhaps even by someone who is untrained?
      • Robots are currently very expensive. How can robots be made more affordable, so more responders can have robots to use?
      • Small robots have trouble getting up stairs or over rough terrain. How would you design a small robot to climb stairs while also being strong enough to overcome rough terrain?
      • It can be difficult for a robot operator to figure out where they are in a building. What features could you add to a robot to help the robot operator to not get lost?
    • Interesting and imaginative solutions are encouraged!
    • There should be technical plausibility but you certainly don’t need to solve all the problems or work the solution out to completion. After all you only have one page!
  • Illustrations are welcome, however any illustrations and text must still fit onto one side of an A4 paper.
    • Any text within the illustrations must be no smaller than 10 point font.
  • Essays may be submitted by a single student or teams of students! Authors and teams must satisfy the following RoboCupJunior age restrictions.
    • Teams consist of 1 to 6 team members who must be between the ages of 14 and 19 (inclusive) on the 1st of July 2023. We encourage teams to have at least 2 team members to support and foster collaboration.
    • Up to 1 mentor (for 1-3 team members) or 2 mentors (for 4-6 team members) who may be anyone over the age of 18. This is often (but does not need to be) a teacher or parent. 
    • Mentors may assist (e.g. brainstorming ideas or proofreading) but the development of the ideas and writing of the essay should be substantially by the team members.
    • Teams don’t need to be formed before the essay is submitted! Even a single student and mentor/parent/teacher can submit an essay and then form a team later.

Are you ready to submit? Here is what to do:

  • Have your mentor email your essay as a PDF file to by the 15th of February.
    • The subject line should contain “Bordeaux Essay Competition” and your institution or team name (e.g. Bordeaux Essay Competition – Team Bordeaux).
    • In the message, include the following:
      • Your mentor’s email 
      • The name(s) of your mentor(s) and team member(s)
      • The name(s) of your school(s) (if this is a school team)
      • The following statement (in English or French):
      • “This submission was written by (names of authors) who will be between the ages of 14 and 19 on the 1st of July 2023. We are in France and to the best of our current knowledge are able to attend RoboCup 2023.”

How will the essays be assessed?:

The essays will be judged by the RoboCupRescue Robot League Organizing Committee, which also include members of:

Judging will be on the basis of technical merit, quality of writing, and presentation. A selection of essays will also be published on the RoboCupRescue RMRC website.

The winner will be notified by the 28th of February!

What do the winning teams receive?

There will be the first place and second place awards!

Thanks to a grant from the IEEE-RAS, the team that submits the best essay will receive both the Robotis Engineer Kit 1, and the Robotis Engineer Kit 2! These kits will provide all the components necessary to start building your robot and experimenting with different solutions to the various challenges. 

The runner-up (2nd place) team will receive a prize (to be announced), thanks to our sponsor, Robotis and Robotis USA!

Note: The kits will ship directly to the teams from the Robotis distributor, usual shipping timelines will apply.

The winning and runner-up teams will also automatically qualify for entry into the 2023 RoboCupRescue Rapidly Manufactured Robot Challenge.

(The winning and runner-up entries substitute submission of the Team Participation Paper and the Qualification Team Description Materials – teams will still need to submit the Updated Team Description Materials in June).

We reserve the right to update these instructions and competition details at any time for clarity and as opportunities arise. A change log will appear at the end of this page showing all updates; updates will also be published on our forum.

We encourage all teams to also join our mailing list and forum to stay up to date with the competition!

Change log

  • 2022-12-20: Initial version published.
  • 2023-01-02: Question statement clarified in part to facilitate more accurate translation. Previous version was “Identify and briefly describe a problem that the current state of robotics that you’ve seen rescuers and responders use. Then explain how you could solve it.”
  • 2023-01-12: French version published. Age of mentor clarified.
  • 2023-01-22: Deadline extended to 15th of February with notification extended to 28th of February.

Short essay competition for high school students in France!