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Over 250 young biologists from 67 countries will be arriving in the UK to compete in this year’s International Biology Olympiad, organised in part by the Royal Society of Biology.

The International Biology Olympiad (IBO), that takes place every year in different locations across the globe, sees pre-university students compete in a series of practical experiments and theoretical exams in what is the biggest biology competition in the world.


This year's medals ready for collection by competitors


This year, the competition has been organised with the help of the RSB Special Interest Group UK Biology Competitions and staff at the RSB, who have been working in the months leading up to the competition to make sure everything will run as smoothly as possible.

The RSB have also been working closely with the University of Warwick and the IBO steering committee based in Kiel, alongside a team of volunteers all working hard to ensure the competition is a success.

The competition, that spans a week in duration, is taking place next week from 23rd July to the 30th July, and after a successful bid back in 2012, will be taking place this year at the University of Warwick in Coventry.


Students will be sitting practical and theory exams designed to put their biosciences skills to the test


Dr Andrew Treharne MBE FRSB, Chair of the UK IBO organising committee: “We’re delighted that we’re able to host this year’s IBO here in the UK; a tremendous honour that we’ve been spending over five years preparing for.

“These competitions not only give participants a chance to demonstrate their passion and knowledge of biology, but, just as importantly, allows them to meet their peers within the global biosciences community and really foster the importance of collaboration and international networking for these young scientists in the making.”

The students representing the UK earned their place on the team by first triumphing over 7,500 other students in the British Biology Olympiad, which took place in March of this year.


This year's UK team, selected from over 7,500 students who competed in the British Biology Olympiad


Since their selection the team has been training at the Natural History Museum, Kew Gardens and the University of Reading, studying subjects such as taxonomy, classification, botany, biochemistry and anatomy in preparation for the competition.

The competition will launch with a lavish opening ceremony that will feature a number of traditional UK based performances from Irish dancing, Scottish Bagpipes, an English brass band and welsh songs performed by an all Male Choir.

A keynote address will also be delivered by Sir Paul Nurse FRS Hon FRSB, chief executive and director of the Francis Crick Institute.

The competition will begin in earnest on the Monday, as students forfeit their mobile devices for the duration of the week. The students will then compete against each other, taking part in practical experiments to demonstrate their laboratory skills and sitting theory exams to test their knowledge.


The students will also have plenty of opportunities to explore Coventry and the surrounding area


There will also be ample opportunities for the attendees to socialise, with excursions planned to Stratford upon Avon, Coventry Cathedral, Warwick Castle and the Coventry Transport Museum.

The week will come to an end with a closing ceremony on 29th July, where students will receive medals for their achievements during the competition.

Maggy Linford FRSB, lead for the UK team, said of the upcoming event: “The UK team has been training incredibly hard for this year’s competition, and we are so excited to demonstrate that our young biologists are of an exceptional standard and we are very proud of their achievements.

“We’re so excited to welcome the teams from across the world to join us in Coventry for a week of not just friendly competition, but also a week of making lasting connections that hopefully will stay with these students for years to come.”


The School of Life Sciences team at the University of Warwick, who will be helping to set up the examinations


Rachel Lambert-Forsyth FRSB, director of membership and professional affairs at the RSB and project manager for the UK IBO has said of the upcoming event: “We hope our guests enjoy their week here in Coventry, and thank University of Warwick, especially all the team at the School of Life Sciences and our lead partner the BBSRC and all our sponsors for allowing us to host this incredible event.

“I would like to thank the immense efforts of the volunteers of the UK Biology Competitions committee for making this possible, alongside the IBO steering committee in Kiel who ensure the IBO competition runs successfully year on year and who chose the UK to host this year’s competition.”