The International Biology Olympiad (IBO) was founded in 1989 by six nations and was held for the first time in 1990. It is an annual student competition that promotes biologically interested and talented students, especially those at the upper secondary level. The competition is financed on a national and international level by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). It is one of the student competitions recommended by the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs. The organization of the national competition, in which four candidates are selected for the Olympic team, is the responsibility of the IPN.
The aims of the competition are to promote an active interest in biological work and creative thinking in solving biological and ecological problems, to establish contacts between pupils who are particularly interested in biology and to develop friendly relations between young people from different countries, thereby contributing to international cooperation and understanding between different nations.
The International Biology Olympiad takes place each summer in one of the participating countries. Further details on the selection of the national teams, the tasks and the organization of the IBOs are laid down in an international IBO guide. Every participant gets a certificate in each round. In the third round, the prizes are book coupons. In addition, research practical courses in different nations are awarded. In the fourth round, there is a monetary prize (500 €) or support from the German National Merit Foundation.
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As per the requirements of the selection competition for the International Biology Olympiad, students must pass four rounds of testing, each round increasing in difficulty (decreasing the overall pass rate) - therefore the process as a whole is highly competitive. The tasks are all above the level of school material and school curricula. That being said, initial participation is open to all enrolled students who have a strong background and interest in biology.
There are no fees involved for participating in the selection competition for the International Biology Olympiad.
Four tasks from all fields of biology must be dealt with by individual students. The tasks can be solved using scientific literature and expertise as homework. The tasks are above the level of school material and school curricula and are often theoretical as well as further practical laboratory tasks. Succeeding in this selection competition, and ultimately being eligible to compete in the IBO, therefore, requires an extensive comprehension of biology, problem-solving, and critical thinking skills.
The amount of time dedicated to this selection competition is at the own discretion of the participant and is subject to variability depending on the number of rounds they partake in.
Students must apply online within the year prior to the International Biology Olympiad (IBO). Students may find their tasks online for the first round, and once completed, a biology teacher at the school corrects the work of the first round and passes the results on (name, sex, school address, class level in the spring of the IBO, achieved score) to one of the deputies of the federal state.