FIRST® LEGO® League Challenge DCU

Mixed Spice Announced Champions at inaugural DCU FIRST® LEGO® League Hackathon

LEGO® Robots designed and built by 14 teams of students from the Faculty of Engineering and Computing, Faculty of Science and Health and Faculty of Humanities and Social Science battled it out at the inaugural FIRST® LEGO® League Hackathon on Friday and Saturday 8 - 9 March. Hosted by the Faculty of Engineering and Computing in partnership with the DCU Engineering Society and CreativeHUT, the event was kindly supported by PWC.

Team Mixed Spice, led by Jennifer Bura (2nd Year, Electronic and Computer Engineering) took the top prize overall for their consistent performance across four categories - Innovation Project, Robot Design, Robot Game and Core Values.  Jennifer was joined on her team by Minode de Silva (2nd year, Electronic and Computer Engineering), Adam Olatunji (2nd year, Electronic and Computer Engineering), Usmara Amir (2nd year, Biomedical Engineering), Sofia Balog (2nd year, Biomedical Engineering) and Alyssa Mahiluddin (2nd year, Electronic and Computer Engineering).

The science and technology challenge, designed as a competitive life skills, robotics competition for 11 - 16 year olds, tasks teams to build a robot to tackle a series of missions, and create an innovative solution to a real-world problem.  This year’s MASTERPIECE℠ challenge asks FIRST® LEGO® League teams to imagine innovative new ways to create and communicate art globally using technology while demonstrating their robotics, computer programming, teamwork, research, problem-solving and communication skills. The Hackathon invited teams of undergraduate and graduate students to complete the same challenge in 24 hours.  

The DCU Solar Racing team won the Robot Game. TAX EVASION took home the trophy for their exceptional Core Values, while LEGO Rangers were victorious in the Innovation Project category.  Team PURPLE were delighted with their award for best overall Robot Design.

The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Computing at DCU, Dr Jennifer Bruton, was blown away by the success of the event.

“I have been delighted to support the FIRST® LEGO® League as a vehicle for STEM outreach and awareness amongst primary and secondary students. DCU students from the Faculty of Engineering & Computing are perfectly placed to provide mentorship to these school goers but we needed a ‘hook’ to highlight the benefits of this programme. The Engineering Society’s suggestion of a Hackathon was the perfect mechanism for introducing the DCU students to the fun and creativity associated with FIRST® LEGO® League. I was thrilled to see the response from engineering & computing students and others from across the greater DCU community. There was great craic over the 24 hours with many college students engaging in creativity, innovation, teamwork, inclusivity, new friendships, and lots of fun and laughter. The Engineering Soc., CreativeHUT and the Faculty are already planning bigger and better things for next year”.

Cora Keogh, Chair of the DCU Engineering Society, commented,

“I am thrilled to have played a part in establishing what I envision as a lasting tradition for DCU. I was blown away by the standard of the competition and I am so pleased we were able to offer students from both our faculty and the wider DCU community the chance to engage with the programme in such a fun and innovative way. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this event and am excited to further its impact and scale in the upcoming year.”

Dublin-based, CreativeHUT, is the regional organiser of FIRST® LEGO® League in Ireland, and founder Ross Maguire said this inaugural Hackathon went above and beyond our expectations.

“We are very excited to expand our partnership with Dublin City University to engage undergraduate and postgraduate students in the FIRST® LEGO® League programme to become future coaches and mentors for student teams across Ireland.  The DCU students really embraced the Core Values of the programme - discovery, innovation, inclusion, impact, teamwork and fun - throughout the Hackathon and used their engineering, design and coding skills to create a very competitive tournament."

DCU Alumnus and Director of Cybersecurity and Privacy at PWC Ireland, Neil Redmond, was delighted to support the event. 

“It was great to attend this PWC Ireland sponsored hackathon. There were so many talented DCU students participating in this event that it augured well for the engineers of the future being innovative problem solvers. Thanks to all the team for a fantastic event.”

Supported by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Discover Programme, FIRST® LEGO® League is delivered in Ireland by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in partnership with local delivery partner, CreativeHUT.  Dublin City University is a lead university partner in the annual STEAM event, along with university partners across Ireland, corporate supporters, youth groups, schools, children, parents, and teachers.

FIRST is an acronym for ‘For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,’ and FIRST® LEGO® League encourages children to think like scientists and engineers, developing practical solutions to real-world issues. 

Visit to discover more about the range of programmes and how to get involved.