Posted on the 25th June 2024
Written by Ed

Euros 2024 for robots

In case you missed it, one of the UK’s most significant sporting events of the calendar happened over the weekend. Teams from all four nations competed to be crowned UK champions. The champs is something they’d been training for since the season started in September, with grit, determination, courage, teamwork, and resilience all on display in abundance.

Where STEM meets sport

Last Friday, 21 June, young people, teachers, parents, mentors and their robots descended on the University of Cambridge Sports Centre to participate in the More Than Robots UK Championship – Euros 2024 for robots. Teams who spent nine months designing, building, coding, and competing locally with their robots were now vying to earn industry-judged awards for their achievements on and off the game field.


Photo Credit: Mark Scott, Black Star Photography / Sky Sports

Diversity in action

Due to the pandemic, it’s only the second time we’ve hosted a face-to-face national champs. I’ve noticed two very palpable shifts in the six short years our charity has been contributing to making STEM more approachable and inclusive:

  1. Evolution of the robots – they’ve become increasingly sophisticated: incorporating the use of CAD, laser cutting, 3D printing and a whole array of design methodologies alongside the deployment of autonomous coding where none previously existed. This is a testament to how the programme is being embedded: resources are improving, community support is better, teachers and youth leaders are building confidence, and knowledge is being passed down from young person to young person.
  2. Diversity of the robots – they’re all completely unique. In our first year, it was hard to discern the differences – just simplistic drivetrains, basic grabbers and no autonomous programming. Six years on, each robot has been designed and engineered to attack a specific aspect of the challenge. Lifting something, hanging somewhere, throwing a projectile, gathering game pieces, driving under an obstruction – it is true diversity in action.

The diversity of robots reflects the diversity of our community. This season, 44% of participants are girls or non-binary, 41% are ethnically diverse, over 50% are from socio-economically less advantaged backgrounds. In turn, this creates diversity of perspective, thought, voice, and approach. The result? Completely unique and diverse robots.

This diversity was mirrored off the pitch by over 100 volunteers we call Game Changers – drawn from a rich array of industry partners, like XTX Markets, Arm, RTX, Qualcomm, Bloomberg and many more – who we simply would not exist without them.

Typically, when you bring talented, diverse folk together, set them a challenge and empower them with technology cool stuff happens. That’s what we saw last weekend – diversity in action.

One teacher, Toby Osborne from Bournemouth School for Girls captured the essence:

“I don’t know if I’ve ever been prouder of a group of students. Simply amazing. These are your future leaders and innovators. It gives me so much hope for the future.”

Everyone has the chance to go pro in STEM

There’s around 67 million diverse souls in the UK, around 5,000 of them are registered with the Professional Football Association. The stats might imply only 0.000007% of us can realistically aspire to be the next Mary Earps or Jordan Pickford. 99% of us could go pro in STEM if we so choose.

The only real difference between our game and their game is no added time, no missed penalties, and we’re not waiting 60 years to do it all again.

Ed Cervantes-Watson, CEO


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