State Launches Fund to Kickstart More Robotics Clubs

Sep 6, 2017

Inventor Dean Kamen, alongside Governor Chris Sununu, in Concord on Tuesday.
Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

Starting an after-school robotics club isn’t cheap. Students need tools and robot kits, and if they want to compete against other schools, they need to pay travel and entry fees.

Lawmakers, however, are of the opinion these kinds of clubs are a smart investment in the state’s future workforce, and they are ready to chip in. The Robotics Education Fund, which was initially created in 2014 but failed to get off the ground, has been rebooted and is now accepting applications for schools looking to get seed money to start a team.

“It isn’t just about building robots,” said Governor Chris Sununu during a kickoff event in Concord. “Its about providing a pathway for teamwork, professionalism, collaboration, exploring ideas of math and science and technology, in all different grade levels.”

Joining Sununu at the event were members of robotics teams from around the state, as well as noted New Hampshire inventor Dean Kamen.

“This is a total home run for Granite State students,” said Kamen, who founded FIRST, an international robotics competition  FIRST. “The New Hampshire Robotics Education Fund will give students across the state the opportunity to develop the skills they’ll need to succeed in any career they choose.”

All K-12 public and charter schools are eligible to apply, with applications being accepted through the month of September. The fund has a total of $375,000 to distribute over the next two years.