NTI Contest: the annual high school student team tech competition


The annual NTI Contest is a high school student team tech competition that brings together young engineers from all over the country, tech evangelists, teachers, schools and universities, and independent experts. During the interactive online sessions and offline hackathons, contest participants solve real industrial challenges in the most innovative areas such as autonomous transportation, genome engineering, big data analysis, neurotechnologies and smart energy. Apart from developing their knowledge of programming, biology, physics, and maths, contest participants improve their communication skills, teamwork, and organizational skills. Contest winners get privileged access to the leading universities and establish contacts with future employers.

The NTI Contest sparks interest in cutting-edge technologies and their possible applications across the whole of Russia and its neighboring countries: in 2018-2019, 38,232 students accessed online study materials and learned more about the new technologies. Also, the Contest brings future closer: giving pre-university students an opportunity to work in the most innovative areas of technology with the leading advisers helping them along the way, it gives us a chance to catch up with the world technological progress and take part in the building of better tomorrow.

The key solution of the NTI Contest project is the format of the final team competition. It is similar to a hackathon dedicated to the particular problem. The student teams in several days are to develop the products and test it. The participants communicate with the experts to understand and design the scope and the application of the product. The winner is determined according to an objective assessment. This approach is backed by the technologies (e.g. the online platform) as well as the methodological experience of the core team and the community. In March-April 2019, 900 best students will try their hand in solving real-life industry challenges using cutting-edge technologies.

The number of partner universities and tech companies increases every year. In 2015, only three Russian universities partnered with the NTI Contest. In 2018, there were seventeen of them, including the Moscow Institute for Physics and Technology, the Moscow Polytechnic University and the Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok)

The NTI Contest is organized by Kruzhok Association, a non-profit organization which brings together experts and companies operating at the intersection of education and tech. The current legal form of the organization was established in July, 2017.






The NTI contest has three stages: Individual Selection, Team Selection and the Finals (calendar). The finalists will work with real engineering equipment applying, in practice, their knowledge demonstrated at the Selection stages.

The winner of the Contest is simply the one whose final work functions correctly.


Any 8-11th grade school student can participate.

Register on the website and solve the problems of the First stage online. At the Second stage, you will team up with other participants (on your own or with the help of organizers) and get interesting tasks as well as online training. And after that, you will participate in the thrilling engineering Finals!

Frequently Asked Questions about NTI Contest


The winners and prizewinners of the NTI Contest will have an opportunity to enter any of the universities organizing the Contest without exams (for those programs indicated on the website from the list of the Russian Council of School Academic Contests) or receive additional admission points (new programs).


If not for strong engineering teams, where would “Google”, “Tesla” or “Sukhoi” be now?

Large projects are built on many people’s hard work. That is why no later than at the Second selection stage, you will be working in a team, distributing tasks as well as the responsibility for the outcome.


While participating in the Contest, you will get access to the Stepik online courses platform, which will help you go beyond your school curriculum, gain additional knowledge to solve the Contest tasks. It will also help you take a closer look at the world of modern engineering.

The NTI Contest aims to include a widening range of disciplines using cutting-edge technologies. There were twenty one of them in 2018-19:

Advanced Fabrication Technologies Aerospace Systems
Autonomous transportation systems Analysis of Space Images and Geospatial Data
(Biotech) Engineered Biosystems Big Data and Machine Learning
Cognitive Technologies Financial Technologies
Intellectual Robotics Systems Intellectual Power Systems
Marine Robotic Systems Nanosystems and Nanoengineering
Neurotechnologies Smart City
Space Systems Engineering Technology of Composite Materials
Unmanned Aviation Systems Virtual and Augmented Reality
Wireless Technology

The Autonomous Transport Systems section is about constructing and controlling elements of an autonomic transport system.

Finalists will design a transportation system based on self-driving cars and air drones.

The system should be able to function on difficult terrain in a winter city (road signs, traffic lights, gas and car wash stations etc.), be accident-proof, and observe traffic rules.

The Analysis of space images and geospatial data section is about algorithms and analyzing geographical Big Data.

Finalists will update a map of tree plantations in a tropical region.
The teams will have the original digital plantation map as of several years back (accuracy and error of the original map are known). The task will be to create an updated plantation map using the most up-to-date space images of the territory for the competition time.

The Aerospace Systems section is about constructing and controlling elements of an autonomic transport system on other planet.

Finalists will design a planet rover and control it via a radio channel. The final task is to develop mechanics and electronics for a water extraction and analysis unit; to design software for reception and transmission of telemetry data, command links, autonomous mobility of the rover; and to collect and analyze water in automatic mode.

The Unmanned Aircraft Systems section implies building unmanned aerial vehicles. This year, the participants were offered to create a control algorithm for an unmanned glider.

The Big Data and Machine Learning section allows to tackle real problems related to the processing of big data and finding regularities.

At the final stage, the participants extracted required data from a data array. For this, they will have to write their own program using a set of machine learning texts.

The Virtual and Augmented Reality section is about using virtual and augmented reality technologies in education, medicine, production sector, and defense industry.

At the final stage, the participants created a video game of their own using modern VR and AR technologies — not just a gaming app in a required setting, but a unique product with interesting game mechanics.

In the Marine Robotic Systems section, the participants create robots able to work and interact under water, and build a communication device to connect these robots.

At the final stage, robots built by teams have to cross a distance underwater, informing each other of the bottom configuration. For environmental exploration it will be necessary to correctly adjust the robot vision system.

The Engineered Biosystems section aims at solving practical biological problems at all levels of life organization, from molecules and genes to organisms and biocoenosis.

Agrobiotechnologies subsection finalists task will beprojecting and optimizing aquaponic systems; creating optimal conditions for growing fish and aquaculture.

Genome Editing subsection finalists will analyze the functioning of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system in a cell line. They will recover genomic DNA from lysate of cell culture taken from a patient with mutation.


Under the Intellectual Robotics Systems section, the participants worked on problems related to the actual projects conducted by companies developing robotics for logistics centers.

The participants had to equip a Trikset-based mobile surface robotic platform with a set of detectors needed for the basic task, and adjust them so as to get reliable information from them.

The Intellectual Power Systems is about solving problems of building autonomic electric power systems.

The final task for the Contest implies building and controlling intellectual power system on a specially designed stand.

The Nanotechnology Engineering section is based on the interaction of physics and chemistry in modern science.

Finalists will create three quantum-dot based light-emitting devices emitting blue, green, and red light (RGB elements). Generation mechanism for such radiation is based on the so-called down-conversion: transformation of the higher-energy violet radiation into less energetic blue, green, and red radiations.

The Neurotechnologies section is about human-machine interaction, recognition of emotions, and broadening the perspectives of interaction with the world around us.

This year, finalists will create a psychophysiological state monitoring system for truck drivers. They will find ways to detect drowsiness and lapse of concentration. Contest participants will design a data collection system, process the data, and interpret it physiologically.

The participants of the Advanced Fabrication Technologies section will work in the field of digital production, i.e. design, prototyping and manufacturing hi-tech products.

At the final stage, the participants built a working CNC for a machine tool able to cut a printed circuit board. They will be given a construction kit to build a triaxial machine tool.

The Financial Technologies section is dealing with the finance industry, telecommunications, and IT security.

The final task was to create a decentralized app at the intersection of blockchain technologies and the Internet of things to ensure interaction between electric car battery producers, service centers changing the batteries, and customers. The teams are to develop a solution to run replaceable batteries counterfeit tests and to confirm manifested quality and current wear-out.

The Space Systems Engineering section is all about solving the problems of space systems engineering.

This year, the participants were establishing connection between two satellites. They built a satellite using a special construction kit; created a communication line; integrated a transmitter into the satellite network; orientated the satellite precisely; and transmitted the data via coordinated device operation.

The Wireless Technology section participants were working on constructing networks and ensuring communication in a situation when the number of devices connected and the amount of data sent increase along with the requirements for systems’ safety and performance.

This year, the task was to localize errors and restore operation of a remote object through different wireless channels, using an additional channel of control.

In the Smart City section, the participants became Smart Home designers. Along with creating the best algorithm for controlling lights, video surveillance and access, they designed and created a Smart Home of their own.

The final task was mostly about using Internet-based remote control for the Smart Home systems and creating mobile apps.

Finalists of the Cognitive technologies section will design a neuro-intensifier allowing to register electroencephalograms; create and test a brain-computer interface; train and select operators whose task will be to pass a route using neurocontrol.
In the Technology of Composite Materials section finalists will construct and optimize a wing box made of polymeric composite materials, using the method of vacuum infusion. They will prepare shape-generating molding tools; develop binders; install a vacuum bag; run vacuum infusion with polymer binder, and proceed with polymerization cycle for the product.