The IBO Educational Conference

2023 — Biology Education: a Key Factor for a Sustainable World

July 10, 2023 — 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM — Auditorium, Crescent Building, UAE University, Al Ain

The conference is being organized by the UAE Ministry of Education in collaboration with the association International Biology Olympiad e.V..



Duration: 20 min each

Panel discussion

Moderated by H.E. Dr. Amna Al Dahak Al Shamsi, assistant Undersecretary for Care and Capacities Building Sector

Duration: 30 min

  • Ryoichi Matsuda, Japan, former IBO Chair
  • Dennis Kappei, Germany + Singapore
  • Eljakim Schrijvers, The Netherlands

Conference 2023 global coordination by Gérard Cobut, Belgium (whose involvement is supported by a grant from Wallonie-Bruxelles International, the body responsible for Belgium's Wallonia-Brussels international relations).

2022 — The IBO Way to Excellence

Ani Plaza Hotel, Yerevan, Armenia — Saturday, July 16, 2022


Each presentation should last ± 30 minutes. PPT or video is available below, next to each abstract.

Morning Session

1. NBO as a Socio-Cultural Movement

Saumitra Chakravarty, Bangladesh

Abstract — Presentation

Bangladesh is a recent country, which started out as secular. Nonetheless, it currently experiences brutal attacks by religious fundamentalists on scientific public figures, religious minorities, women, LGBTQ+. Anti-science propaganda blooms over the social media.

To fight this social ill, law enforcement is hardly enough. Science movements are emerging; Bangladesh Biology Olympiad is one of them. We are NOT working against any religion because we respect every faith. Rather, we are trying to instil love and passion for science in young minds, which may act as an antidote against indoctrination. Our NBO is not just a selection process to choose IBO competitors, but a nation-wide program to attract young minds towards science. Although our programs are not obstructed by our current government, we did not receive any financial support from our government or private companies yet. On the opposite, we faced attempts at sabotage and smear campaign against our organization.

Even in the face of potential death threats and lack of finance, we dream to build a better future for Bangladesh through science movements, aiming at valuing humanity over sectarianism.

2. Responding to girls’ educational barriers in Afghanistan

Qurban Ali Waezi & Rahmkhuda Karimi, Afghanistan

Abstract — Presentation

The quality of government schools in Afghanistan has worsened due to Covid-19, insecurity and the recent power shifts. The Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan limited access for females to education across the country. Afghan students are required to pass Kankor University Entrance exam to qualify for higher education, but 12-grade students could not complete their curriculum to pass the Kankor exam in March 2022.

Therefore, Aga Khan Education Service has established supplementary educational programs in Afghanistan to support the pupils in science and math subjects. The program goal is as follows:

  • enhancing the knowledge and skills of secondary students in science and math subjects to enhance their knowledge and skills;
  • enhancing students’ performance at the Kankor (university entrance exam).

3. Introducing High School Students to Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering

Mohammed Kurdi Al-Dulaimi & Ahmed Faris, Qatar

Abstract — Presentation

For a period of 4 years, the students at QSTSS are exposed to different learning experiences in biotechnology, microscopy and digital imaging, biomechanics, biosensors, and bioinformatics.
This provides an opportunity to explore the role of genetic engineers and biomedical engineers in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases through well-designed procedures and advanced technology. Ultimately, more students are inspired to pursue their studies in the biomedical and biomedical engineering fields.

4. A Good Reader Today will be a Good Writer Tomorrow

Abdulsamie Hanano, Syria

Abstract — Presentation

We focus on practical guidelines on how students can be familiarized with scientific publications:

  • Academic publishing of scientific papers: where and how students can find scientific publications in biology.
  • Structure of a typical scientific paper in biological sciences.
  • Practical guidelines for an effective and critical reading of a scientific paper.
  • A brief highlight on the writing of a scientific paper: order of process.

This will give students key information to start discovering the world of scientific publication.

5. IBO Outreach to School Children

Surgeon BC, Nepal (Zoom videoconference)


The excellence in the IBO is a result of the hard work of the different parties involved. The national organizer has to inform, educate and inspire to participate in the NBO, then excel in the bio-science.
Excellent results are all about preparation, for years. We need to penetrate the IBO idea to the school children from very young age.

IBO Penetration to School Children includes information about the prestigious IBO they can dream of to grab a GOLD medal, educating them about biological science and its day to day life connectivity; and further inspire them towards a biological science career. The connection to great biologists helps them to imagine themselves further. We can penetrate IBO to our schools in various ways, which we will discuss.

I’m confident that the national organizers are capable enough to do them all. Numerous NBOs are doing creative works, but this time we need to share our ideas to everyone and inspire the world of young innovators.

Afternoon Session

6. Memories of a Fossil: 1989-2021 IBO Highlights

Gérard Cobut, Belgium

Abstract — Presentation

Gérard Cobut is currently the most experienced IBO Jury Member (read: a quasi-Fossil), as he was involved since the very foundation of our International Biology Olympiad. He will present a selection of outstanding moments and interesting characters, which have shaped what the IBO has become.

7. Keeping the Link Alive between Former IBO Competitors - Developing an Alumni Network

Fatimah S. Alhamlan, Saudi Arabia

Abstract — Presentation

Saudi Arabia has established an Alumni network to optimize the efforts in supporting its students. Its goals:

  • Empowering the youth and directing them to key initiatives serving SDGs to increase the social impact
  • Building a network of young talents with different specializations who will contribute to economic development
  • Support Career building for the Alumni

During the presentation, we will propose a model for the IBO community - and discuss it.

8. IBO and Assessment

Sandor Ban, Hungary

Abstract — Presentation

Did you ever wonder what makes an IBO gold medallist? What is more important? Is it the ability to grasp the terminology of biology, the interpersonal or IT skills, the tricky true/false questions success rate, or the scientific mind? Whatever we want to assess, we first need to clarify these questions. This short presentation attempts to open the space for a dialogue between traditional and innovative assessment approaches to keep up with the constant evolution of the IBO tests.

9. The IBO Website as a Tool for Developing our Educational Community

Gérard Cobut, Belgium


The IBO was early in developing its web pages (1997). A brand-new version was launched in early 2020. Besides sharing practical information, it aims at being a tool in the service of education, worldwide.
We will discuss various possible uses: comparing biological education systems, keeping a link between former IBO competitors, inspiring each other in designing creative, high quality tasks for assessing pupils’ capacity, etc. The audience will be invited to participate on a co-creative basis.

Conference 2022 coordination by Gérard Cobut, Belgium (whose involvement is supported by a grant from Wallonie-Bruxelles International, the body responsible for Belgium's Wallonia-Brussels international relations).

2019 Educational Session (Szeged)

Peter Hegyi - keynote - Multi-Generational New School and Programme of Excellence (presentation – 11 MB)

Ronald Allan Lopez Cruz - Aliens and Dragons in the Classroom: Mutual Enhancement of Science and Pop Culture (34 MB)

Takao Ishikawa - Making the impossible possible: the metamorphosis of Polish Biology Olympiad (5 MB)

José Matos - Biogenius: a Portuguese tale (36 MB)

Sebastian Opitz - What impact does IBO have on its participants and how can we measure it? (12 MB)

Anna Pascucci - Talent is universal, opportunity not! How Amgen Biotech Experience program innovates teaching and learning Biotechnology at school in 18 countries (presentation – 3 MB)

Hans Morélis - keynote - PPT Comparison of EUSO, IJSO, IBO, IChO and IPhO - facts and conclusions

Hans Morélis - Full report Comparison of EUSO, IJSO, IBO, IChO and IPhO - facts and conclusions (presentation – 1.5 MB)

2015 Educational Session (Aarhus)

Junichi Saito, Ryoichi Matsuda - Presentation of a survey on IBO alumni : Partial Results
Gérard Cobut - The Olympiad experience, asking Belgian NBO winners "What did you get from your Biology Olympiad experience that you didn't find in the formal education system?"

2014 Educational Session 2014 (Bali)

Mohammad Karamudini (Iran) - “New Biology, New Educational Approaches"

Vibeke Birkmann (Denmark) - Biotechnology in the Danish Gymnasium

Junichi Saito and Ryoichi Matsuda (Japan) - Preliminary Results of the IBO Alumni Survey

Hans Morelis (Netherlands) - Biology Education & the Impact of the Biology Olympiad

Andrew Treharne (UK) - A Case Study on the Work of a Learned Society. How Biologists can Influence Policy and the Curriculum

2013 Educational Session (Bern)

Mary Oliver (Australia) - Where to next

Ryoichi Matsuda (Japan) - Crisis of Science Education in Japan

Javier Fernandez-Portal Diaz del Rio (Spain) - International comparison of theoretical syllabi Andrew Treharne (UK) - Teaching and assessment of practical skills in member countries