„Olympiade de Biologie“

shared membership & team with: Belgium dutch

Contact data

Country coordinator

Gérard Cobut

Hosting institution

Association des professeurs de biologie - PROBIO asbl
Rue Vautier 29
1000, Bruxelles


Appointing institution

Association des professeurs de biologie - PROBIO asbl (Biology Teachers Association in French-speaking and German-speaking Belgium)

Rue Vautier 29 – 1000 Bruxelles – Belgium

Organization & structure

The Biology Teachers association (PROBIO asbl) is the main organizer. It can count on support from various Teachers, Professors and Universities.


Biology teachers are in charge of their students application. Both apply in a web database. Participation is individual, on a voluntary basis. An application fee is due (€5 / student).

Competition and rounds

Our Olympiad includes 3 rounds of tests for grade 12 students (eligible for IBO), 2 rounds for grade 11 students.

  • January: first round. It's held simultaneously in all participating schools. Teachers get the questions and the answer keys; they mark the tests and enter the results on-line. Some 100 to 200 students are selected (± 50% in grade 11, ± 50% in grade 12).
  • February: second round. This test is carried out in 5 locationsaround the country (mostly universities). The organizers mark the tests. Some 10-12 laureates are selected this way in grade 11 (the competition stops at this level: these winners are automatically selected for the second round next year.). Some 10-15 finalists are selected in grade 12.
  • March / April / May. Grade 12 finalists get a training programme (see below: Student training).
  • May. The third round determines the final ranking (grade 12). Top 2 students will go for the IBO. The 2 other Belgian students are selected through the Flemish Biology Olympiad.
Number of students in first round

Approximately 750


Test questions are written by a small group of volunteers brought together for this purpose (former teachers, professors, Olympiad managers...). This task is carried out in co-operation with the Luxembourg Biology Olympiad (combining physical meeting and video-conference).

Round 1 tests

  • For grade 11 + 12 participants
  • Theory only; multiple choice and multiple true-false questions
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Carried out in participating schools

Round 2 tests

  • For grade 11 + 12 participants
  • Theory only; mix of multiple choice, multiple true-false and open questions
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Carried out in 5 regional locations (mainly universities) around the country.

Round 3 tests

  • For grade 12 participants only
  • Theory: mostly open questions
  • Practical work: lab activities
  • Duration: 5–6 hours
  • Carried out in a university

For 10-15 finalists (grade 12):

  • various training camps in March/April, 2 or 3 days each (Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays)
  • 3 or 4 one-day trainings (April to June)

For the 2 finalists (grade 12) who will go for IBO:

  • one camp in July, 2-3 days long, just before departing to IBO (when applicable; not in 2023)
Study materials

A specific study program is applicable:

A web-based educational platform is devoted to Bio Olympiad learning/training, currently for grade 12 finalists.

Students are stimulated to discover as much as possible by themselves.

Teachers can acquire the full set of questions asked in all previous National Olympiads (starting 1991) on for training purposes.

Awards & prizes

"National" level competition

The Biology Olympiad competition selects 10 to 15 laureates at grade 11, and 10 to 15 at grade 12.

At each grade, laureates are awarded:

  • medals (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze; participation medal for all other laureates);
  • diplomas;
  • science (text)books.

One €150 grant is awarded to the top grade 12 laureate by the Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels.

IBO level

If a grade 12 laureate wins an IBO medal, he/she is then assigned a special recognitionand medal by the Academy of Sciences, during its Public Session (December). He/she also receives an "Excellence Grant", which corresponds to the first year university enrolment fee.

No specific access to University is currently linked to NBO / IBO awards.


Type of students

Students applying for the Biology Olympiad are typically having lessons in grade 11 & 12. All schools may apply, but participation in IBO and similar (e.g. European Olympiad of Experimental Science) are restricted according to the prevailing Rules for those international competitions.

We organize separate competitions for 11th grade and for 12th grade (10th grade students may participate in grade 11 competition, basically to get acquainted with it).

Participation is individual, on a voluntary basis.

Biology Teachers are supposed to be the application driving force.

School year

Begins: last week of August

Ends: first week of July

Biology hours/week

Minimum: 1 hour/week (= 50 min, an "hour" lesson being in fact a 50 minutes time period)

Maximum: 2 hours/week (= 1 h 40 min)

Some schools may add some extra biology lessons during the school year, but this only adds small fractions of biology hours/week; absolute maximum equivalent to ± 2.3 hours/week (= 1 h 55 min)

Hours of Classes/week

The rule is 32 hours/week (an "hour" being in fact a 50 minutes time period).

This can be increased to 34, 35 or 36 hours for pupils taking certain courses (languages and science in particular).

Public Relations


The Biology Olympiad promotion & communication is carried out in close co-operation with the Chemistry and Physics Olympiads (information mailing, website, fund-raising…).

In October, we send an information package (folder, poster, instructions…) to each & every secondary school, to a wide group of science teachers, and to Science journalists.

Information is also available on:

Promotion contact

The Science Olympiads consortium (biology + chemistry + physics) ensures common promotion.

Statistics over the years
  • 2023: 803 students from 131 schools (26% of eligible schools)
  • 2022: 636 students from 120 schools (24% of eligible schools)
  • 2021: 506 students from 96 schools (19% of eligible schools)
  • 2020: 757 students from 128 schools (26% of eligible schools)
  • 2019: 764 students from 118 schools (25% of eligible schools)
  • 2018: 725 students from 105 schools (21% of eligible schools)
  • 2017: 662 students from 101 schools (20% of eligible schools)
  • 2016: 584 students from 81 schools (16% of eligible schools)
  • 2015: 622 students from 83 schools (17% of eligible schools)

The statistics are based on ± 500 eligible schools and an estimated 50 000 eligible students.

Percentage of students participating: ± 1,60 %

Media coverage

Media coverage is usually limited. Sporadic publications appear in newspapers and news websites.

But in May 2023 our award ceremony was reported on prime-time TV news on one of the prominent TV networks.


Logo of Olympiade de Biologie [JPG, 54.0 KB] Download Poster of Olympiade de Biologie [JPG, 227.8 KB] Download Leaflet of Olympiade de Biologie [PDF, 4.2 MB] Download
Description of attached files:

Our poster and leaflet are sent to all secondary schools and to teachers whom we know (i.e. we have a postal address) in October every year.