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Robot Challenge - 5 Day Course

Competitive and highly interactive coding and engineering course for students interested in design technology, engineering, gaming and coding.

BioGrad Laboratories have provided laboratory and clinical training for thousands of students from the below 580 institutions throughout the UK, Europe, Africa and Asia:

The course supports university and work experience applications, as almost all universities and employers now require previous experience before considering an applicant. The ‘Robot Challenge’ course makes an ideal summer school for year 12 and 13 students who want to explore whether design technology, coding and engineering work environments live up to their expectations (before deciding which undergraduate degree to apply for).

The ‘Robot Challenge’ programme runs from 9:30am – 4pm for 5 consecutive days and provides practical experience in design, coding. 3D printing and engineering delivered by researchers from CERN and the University of Liverpool.

We teach at a very low student to tutor ratio (8/10:1) meaning that students are supervised and encouraged throughout their course. Students design and create their own robots under the guidance of experienced engineers, they are allowed them to make (safe) mistakes and learn from these. We believe this helps students to develop independent design and engineering skills and gain confidence in their own ability in the workplace. The engineers teaching during the course provide insights into their industry and areas of research, supporting career development amongst students who attend the course.

BioGrad Robot Challenge Image 2

BioGrad adhere to strong child protection policies therefore dormitory accommodation is only available to students aged 16-19 years old during this course. Students aged 20 or above may attend this course but must select single occupancy accommodation or seek alternative accommodation arrangements.

Course Content


Welcome talks, introduction to Liverpool Science Park and the working laboratories, including health and safety. Students are introduced to the software they will be using for the week and will begin with a workshop in 3D design.


Morning workshop on programming with Arduino IDE using Cplus language. Students spend the afternoon testing their new skills programming simple robots with a range of sensors. As the day progresses students begin to combine codes and sensors to complete a range of simple challenges.


Design Masterclass – students begin to design their own robot! The afternoon is used to set up the 3D printers and start printing out the parts for their designs.


Students complete their robot construction, set up the control software and calibrate the sensors.


ROBOT CHALLENGE! Robots go head to head to complete tasks of agility, speed, obstacle courses and finish with the robot battle! The winner takes their robot home with them as a prize at the end of the course!

Students may bring an android smart phone to control their robot, students without android operating systems are able to use BioGrad tablets during the course.

BioGrad Robot Challenge Image 1

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

BioGrad Clinical Skills Duke of Edinburgh Gold

BioGrad is an Approved Activity Provide for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. This course may be used as your Duke of Edinburgh Gold Residential Award, which can be signed off by the course leader on the final day.

Please provide your Duke of Edinburgh Award number on your registration form at the time of booking your course.

Students using this course for their GOLD residential must stay for at least 4 nights in dormitory accommodation.

UCAS References

Students who wish to use this course as work experience to support university applications may request a reference to be sent directly to their school/college. These references are signed off by the course leader after obtaining feedback from staff teaching during the course. These references help your teachers to create your UCAS reference.

Please provide the name of your school on your registration form at the time of booking your course.


Students are provided with a certificate of attendance at the end of the course.


We will happily take photographs of students working in the laboratory and clinical centre which often serve as excellent profile pictures for work related social networking (such as LinkedIn).

Students are asked not to take photographs of other attendees or staff without consent. Students under the age of 18 years old must provide the completed photo/video consent form on the first day of the course (sent to all students in their course registration confirmation) if they wish to have photographs taken for use on professional or social media.

Course Leaders

The course is designed and delivered by experienced engineers from the University of Liverpool and CERN. The course provides coding and engineering training to support university applications.

The course is taught with a very low student to tutor ratio (a researcher for every 8-10 students). This also allows students to spend as much time as they need to develop their 3D printing techniques until they are confident. We allow students to make (safe) mistakes and correct their own work so that they learn from their own mistakes and we encourage students to try different approaches to solve problems in the laboratory setting.

Clothing and Equipment

All personal protective equipment is provided during the course. Students are advised to wear comfortable clothes and shoes (ensuring legs and feet are covered when in the engineering laboratory). We advise layered clothing as it can become warm when wearing a lab coat all day.

Students should bring a notebook for taking notes during the workshops. Computers are provided for the coding workshops on-site however students may wish to bring their own laptop (containing windows 10) and smart phone (with android operating system) so they can download all of the required software onto their own computer/phone in the event that they win the ‘Robot Challenge’ and take their robot home at the end of the course.


Students are expected to be studying A-level mathematics or physics, or B-Tec in applied science or engineering. The course is designed for enthusiastic students who have a desire to learn more about computer aided design, 3D printing and basic engineering so students with an interest in gaming and coding are also encourages to sign up for this course.


Schools, colleges, universities, distance learning providers and DofE centres can book a bespoke course for groups of 20 – 60 students per week. Full board options are available including evening activities. Please contact info@biograd.co.uk for availability.

International groups may take advantage of our collaboration with Liverpool School of English, booking a 2 week course with English tuition, full board home stay, transfers and insurance. Please contact info@biograd.co.uk for availability.


Students have an hour for lunch each day. There are many places to purchase food and drink within walking distance of the Science Park, including the City of Liverpool College, Subway, Tesco’s, Costa, The EveryMan theatre and many small sandwich/coffee shops. Students wishing to bring their own food have access to a fridge and microwave during the course, plus a break room containing vending machines, a pool table and sky TV on-site.

Students who are attending as a residential course can make the most of their evenings by exploring the huge range of restaurants within walking distance of the Art House Hotel.

Further Information

Accommodation - BioGrad
Evening Activities - BioGrad
Evening Activities
Facilities - BioGrad
BioGrad Facilities
The Team - BioGrad
Meet the Team

For further information please contact us using this form or email us at info@biograd.co.uk.

Course Payment:

All payments are taken securely with PayPal. All major debit and credit cards are accepted so you don’t need a PayPal account.

There are four payment options available:

  • Pay in full at the time of booking
  • Pay in 2 - 25% deposit with the remainder due 28 days before the course commences (only available if booking more than 28 days in advance)
  • Pay in 6 - 6 equal, monthly payments (only available if booking more than 26 weeks in advance)
  • Pay in 12 - 12 equal, monthly payments (only available if booking more than 54 weeks in advance)

There is no charge for early payment, which can be made via PayPal at any time.

Means tested bursaries available for students attending BioGrad Partner Schools. See our bursary page for further information

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Current Academic Year 2021/2022

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  • "I was taught by an experienced researcher who gave us the opportunity to work with many different cell types. I was able to see the differences between the morphology and growth rates of different cells for myself. I also had the opportunity to try a number of different techniques which gave me confidence to apply for PhD's requiring cell culture experience."
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