State Department of Education grants available for teams in LTU’s Robofest

SOUTHFIELD–The Michigan Department of Education has made grants available for the formation of teams in Robofest, the annual robotics competition established by Lawrence Technological University.

The grants became available after Robofest became an approved provider for the Michigan Department of Education Robotics Competition Grant Program, funded through Section 99h of the state School Aid Act. The grants aim to improve student proficiency in mathematics, science, and technology through participation in robotics competitions.

The state is providing funding through this program for teams in public school districts, intermediate school districts, and private schools for students in grades preK-12.

Robofest, celebrating its 25th anniversary, is hosted by LTU in Southfield. In Robofest, small student teams in grades 4-12 design, build, and program small robots to act independently and compete for trophies in a variety of competitions. Through Robofest, students master principles of the STEAM disciplines, computer science, artificial intelligence, communication, critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving.

The 99h grants will provide up to $1,200 in funding for teams, money that can be spent on Robofest registration fees, training, hardware, materials, tools, travel, meals, and other team expenses. Coaches may also receive stipends for working with their teams.

To be eligible for the grants, coaches and teams must be registered with a team ID in the Robofest registration system (at between Oct. 1 and Dec. 31, 2023. More information about the grant application is available on the Michigan Department of Education website at

Patrick Nelson, interim dean of the LTU College of Arts and Sciences, noted that the college and its Department of Mathematics and Computer Science “have supported Robofest for 25 years, and now, through this support from the state Department of Education, we can now enhance this wonderful program in our local high schools, building a bridge to a successful career studying at LTU.”

Robofest competitions include an annual Game, in which robots are programmed to move and lift objects around a six-foot game table in set patterns arranged around a theme; Exhibition, in which students dream up a task for robots to accomplish, then build and program a robot to accomplish it; RoboMed, in which teams create medical robots; RoboArts, in which robots are built for artistic performance; the Unknown Mission Challenge, in which teams aren’t told of the task their robot must accomplish until the day of competition; the Vision Centric Challenge, an advanced machine vision competition; BottleSumo, a simple competition in which robots try to push each other or a bottle off a table before the opposing robot does; and RoboParade, in which self-driving robots are decorated festively around a theme.

The 2024 Robofest competition season will begin with a Game Rules Release on Sept. 30, and a series of kickoff meetings and coach training sessions throughout October. There will be technical workshops for registered teams in January and February, with local qualifying competitions beginning in March. The Robofest World Championships are scheduled for May 9-11 on the LTU campus in Southfield.

Students who participate in Robofest are eligible for a $3,000 annual LTU scholarship for any degree program. Scholarships of up to $17,000 annually for four years are available to members of winning high school teams to attend LTU.

Since Robofest’s inception in 1999, more than 34,300 students from 19 states and 32 countries have competed in the event.

Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932 and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU as part of its growing Center for Professional Development. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report list it in the top tier of the best Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.

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