• Intuitive Foundation
    FIRST Robotics

The Intuitive Foundation is a proud sponsor of FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) high school robotics teams.

Since 2006, Intuitive Surgical has partnered with FIRST, awarding grants to high school robotic teams both in the Bay Area and other parts of the U.S. In 2019, FIRST sponsorship was transferred to the Intuitive Foundation.

Over the years, Intuitive has inspired hundreds of students to engage in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) activities. In addition, Intuitive Surgical employees have volunteered as mentors and coaches for teams that compete in FIRST Robotics Competition, which combines the excitement of sports with the rigors of science and technology. In 2019, the Intuitive Foundation expanded its reach to sponsoring teams around the world.

Beyond sponsorship and mentoring, Intuitive Surgical employees hosts a popular summer event for local teams called RoboNanza in Sunnyvale, California, and hosts FIRST teams to a Fall Open House where students enjoy system demos and learn about STEM careers.

Particularly during these uncertain and challenging times, the Intuitive Foundation is committed to supporting FIRST’s mission to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators.

The Intuitive Foundation awarded grants to 168 robotic teams in the 2022-23 school year. This year’s roster included teams from Mexico, Canada Israel, and Turkey.

Eligibility Criteria and Application guidelines

To qualify for funding for the current season, any non-rookie team registered with FIRST may submit an application.  

For teams located outside of the U.S., the funding request should come from a registered charity. All team grants will be disbursed through FIRST Finance.  We do not grant funds to individual teams nor provide grants outside of FIRST finance.

The Foundation will review and evaluate submissions based on the following criteria:

  1. The team must be registered with FIRST for the current year’s competition season.
  2. The team must have competed in at least one official FIRST competition.
  3. The team must complete the previous year’s final report if they were a recipient of a grant.
  4. The team exposes students to STEM programs and inspires them to pursue STEM who otherwise might not have had the opportunity.
  5. The team multiplies the impact of our investment by promoting interest in STEM outside of their organization.
  6. The team fosters growth and development of future scientists and engineers through well-developed and successful teams.
  7. The team must be able to receive payments through the FIRST organization.

Please email FIRST@intuitive-foundation.org with questions regarding Intuitive Foundation’s FIRST Robotics program and grant process.

**As part of our sustainability program, we request that teams send digital items via email (photos, letters, etc.) and refrain from sending physical items to reduce our carbon footprint.**


May (3rd week) 24, 2024: Grant recipient final reports due.  Final reports must be submitted for a grantee to reapply, incomplete reports will result in disqualification.

June 3, 2024: Grant application portal opens.

August 31, 2024: Grant portal closes.

October (3rd week) 2024: Grant notification to FIRST, recipient teams will be notified by FIRST.

November (2nd week) 2024: Anticipated invoice and payment to FIRST for grant payment.


Local grantee teams are invited to showcase their student-built robots at Intuitive Surgical’s Sunnyvale headquarters at an event called RoboNanza.  Teams compete in a friendly scrimmage during the lunch hour to showcase their robot for Intuitive Surgical employees and their families.

The fall open house for sponsored FIRST teams is a crowd favorite that includes da Vinci test drives, a design challenge, and STEM workshops.