IBO 2020 has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But thanks to the Japanese organizers, the IBO “Challenge 2020” was conducted as a completely virtual substitute competition for the cancelled 31st IBO in Nagasaki. This was not only the first time that a virutal IBO competition was carried out, but also the first time that a country hosted an IBO competition for a second time!

The way the Japanese hosts designed and carried out the IBO Challenge was highly successful. In addition to theoretical and practical exams that made up the IBO Challenge, an International Group Project was offered, aiming to enhance scientific discussion and collaboration between competitors from different countries. This project was carried out as the first trial of a collaborative research opportunity in IBO’s history. Altogether, 53 countries and 202 competitors participated in the International Group Project and/or the exams of the IBO Challenge.

On behalf of the International Biology Olympiad Association, I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the Japanese organizers, Dr. Makoto Asashima, the chairman of the organizing committee, Dr. Hiroshi Wada, the chairman of Scientific Committee, Dr. Tatsuhiko Noguchi, the vice-chairman of Scientific Committee, and Dr. Akira Kato, the chief of the International Group Project, and many other biologists, as well as the IBO International subgroup members.

We would furthermore like to thank Ms. Mitsuko Kudo, the chief of the IBO 2020 Secretariat Office, as well as Mr. Kentaro Honda and Mr. Taiga Araki, both former competitors from IBO 2007 and 2012, for handling so many forms and emails in their communication with participants. The international IBO alumni deserve further credit for assisting the International Group Projects – please remain as active in our community as you are!

Lastly, I would like to appreciate coordinators and jury members of all participating countries who conducted the national exams, selected competitors, helped them to participate in the IBO Challenge 2020 under these difficult circumstances and discussed and translated the tasks remotely.

All of you made the IBO Challenge 2020 – the first-ever virtual IBO event – successful. It will remain an unforgettable event in the history of IBO!

It is so obvious that Biology is a major tool to overcome the pandemic of COVID-19 and other health and environmental issues. Let us invest our maximum effort into Biology and Biology education!

Please stay safe and let us hope to see each other in Lisbon, Portugal in 2021.

Sincerely yours,

Prof. Dr. Ryoichi Matsuda

Chairman of the IBO Steering Committee