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Robot Combat League Founder Announces $2 Million in STEM Education Grants

Norwalk Havoc Robot League (NHRL) founder Austin McChord has announced STEM education grants of $2 million in two separate initiatives: $1 million in $10,000 grants each to 100 nonprofit universities, colleges, and tech schools to promote STEM education and iSports, and $1 million to STEM charities chosen by robotics team winners and finalists at the NHRL World Championship Tournament on Dec. 17, 2022.

robot combat league

iSports is a new category of sports that includes robotics, racing, Lego building, and Rubik's cubing. (Photo: Greg Raymond)

McChord, who in 2017 donated $50 million to his alma mater, Rochester Institute of Technology, to build an innovation hangar, is an advocate for STEM education and iSports. iSports is a new category of sport that includes robotics, racing, Lego building, and Rubik's cubing, a news announcement explained. The $1 million designated to the 2023 NHRL Collegiate Robotics Grants Programi is awarded in $10,000 grants to 100 collegiate programs to provide resources to help robotics teams reach their potential through innovation and intelligence. Applications are open now and will close on Dec. 15, 2022, at 5 p.m. For more information and to apply, go here. Awardees will be announced in January 2023.

The second program, the 2022 NHRL STEM Grants, will coincide with the NHRL World Championship Tournament. Each tournament winner will get to award $250,000 to the STEM charity of their choice, and the remaining $250,000 will be split equally and donated to charities selected by the remaining finalists. Robotics teams affiliated with nonprofit public or private two or four-year colleges and universities in the U.S. are eligible. Applications are open through Dec. 31, 2022, and awardees will be announced in January 2023.

McChord said he got into robotics sports as a hobby after leaving his startup cybersecurity company, Datto, in 2018 and founded the robot combat league NHRL, which welcomes robotics builders and innovators from all over the world and hosts a series of tournaments each year. Visit the NHRL home page to find out more.

About the Author

Kate Lucariello is a former newspaper editor, EAST Lab high school teacher and college English teacher.

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