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Ready, set, robot! Drawing and Story Competitions for Primary Schoolchildren Open For Entries

2022 “Once Upon A Robot” writing competition and “Draw A Robot” design challenge launch today, offering unique prizes; budding artists and authors invited to enter

We are excited to announce the official launch of our 2022 competitions to get the UK’s primary schoolchildren drawing and writing about all things “robot”!

Key Stage 1 & 2 children from 5 – 11 years old are invited to share their robot-inspired designs and creative writing with an expert panel – including top robotics researchers and very special guest judges from the creative and literary arts. This annual competition has proved highly popular with budding artists and authors nationwide and is now returning for its third successive year.

The two competitions will be judged by robotics experts from the UK-RAS Network, plus two very special invited judges. The writing competition will be judged this year by writer Radiya Hafiza, whose debut novel – the magical, empowering story Rumaysa: A Fairytale – was published in 2021 to wide acclaim. The drawing competition will be judged by Irish author and illustrator Chris Haughton, whose bold and brilliant books for children include A BIT LOST, OH NO GEORGE! And SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN.

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 can use pencils, pens, paints, or even natural materials to design their robot, and they can explain its functions by labelling key features and special gadgets on the drawing and writing a short design spec.

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 a creative short story featuring any kind of robot – or robots – their imagination can conjure! The story could be an action-packed thriller, a compelling mystery, or even a light-hearted comedy – the children will have 800-words to tell their creative tales.

This year’s exclusive prize packages include:

  • Draw A Robot Competition winner
    • Thames & Kosmos Coding and Robotics kit – contributed by sponsoring partner the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC)
    • A tour of the AMRC’s Factory 2050 in Sheffield, the UK’s first state-of-the-art factory dedicated to reconfigurable digitally assisted assembly
    • Bespoke animation of the winning drawing by top animator Jody Clarke
    • Copy of the book “Maybe…”, signed by competition judge Chris Haughton
  • Draw A Robot Competition runner-up
    • 4M Green Science Solar Hybrid Power Aqua Robot – contributed by sponsoring partner the Offshore Robotics for Certification of Assets (ORCA) Hub
    • Copy of the book “Maybe…”, signed by competition judge Chris Haughton
  • Once Upon A Robot Competition winner
    • MakeBlock Codey Rocky Educational Coding Robot – contributed by sponsoring partner Pipebots
    • A tour of Heriot-Watt University’s National Robotarium in Edinburgh, a world-leading centre for robotics and artificial intelligence.
    • Printed copy of the winning story with bespoke illustrations by illustrator and science communicator Hana Ayoob
    • A copy of “Rumaysa: A Fairytale” signed by competition judge Radiya Hafiza
  • Once Upon A Robot Competition runner-up
    • 4M Solar Robot – contributed by sponsoring partner The National Robotarium
    • A copy of “Rumaysa: A Fairytale” signed by competition judge Radiya Hafiza

Both competitions are open for entry from today and will close for submissions on the 24th April. The winners will be announced at a special virtual award ceremony due to be held on June 21st 2022.

“It’s once again our great pleasure to be launching these fantastic competitions, which have become a firm favourite in the calendar of many primary schools, and which offer a really unique opportunity to engage children creatively in the world of robotics and automation. We’re hugely looking forward to seeing what ideas our next generation of authors and designers come up with, and to the enjoyable and inspiring task of judging all the many superb entries as they roll in.”

– EPSRC UK-RAS Network Chair Robert Richardson

The two creative competitions for young children were first launched in 2020 for UK Robotics Week, now the UK Festival of Robotics – an annual 7-day celebration of robotics and intelligent systems held at the end of June.