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The four best biology students: digital round of the International Biology Olympiad competition

June 5th, 2020

The German selection competition for the International Biology Olympiad ended in an unusual but successful manner with an exclusively digital 4th round of competition!

In previous years, the best 12 students of about 1400 participants in the selection competition for the International Biology Olympiad met for the 4th and final round of the competition at the IPN in Kiel. This year, however, an exclusively digital final round was held due to the corona pandemic and the associated contact restrictions. Students and supervisors met in the video conference room for seminars, lectures, preliminary and follow-up discussions, and then, using three written exams, jointly determined the best students in biology in 2020.

Experimental examinations could not be held this year. Instead, two theoretical exams were written in addition to a practical bioinformatics exam. The exams included complex tasks as well as multiple-choice tasks to examine the broad range of biological topics in greater depth. However, since the experimental skills of the participating students are usually an important part of the IBO selection rounds, this year's final round was based on the experimental results from the 3rd selection round, which could still be carried out without restrictions as a presence round at the IPN in February 2020. To prevent a conflict of dates with the Abitur exams in the different federal states, the selection round was extended to two weeks, lectures were recorded and were thus available to the participants for individual retrieval.

The best four German students are:

Damian Groß (17) from Werner-von-Siemens High School in Magdeburg (Saxony-Anhalt),

Fynn Kessels (17) from the Carl-Zeiss-Gymnasium in Jena (Thuringia),

Ilka Jaschinski (18) from Martin-Anderson-Nexö-Gymnasium in Dresden (Saxony) and

David Sauer (16) from the Life Science Lab in Heidelberg (Baden-Württemberg).

Unfortunately, the International Biology Olympiad cannot take place as planned in Nagasaki, Japan, this year. Thus, the German national team will unfortunately not be able to face the international competition this year. The "Remote-Challenge", which is being planned by the Japanese hosts, is only a small consolation for the lack of international exchange at the International Biology Olympiad with participants from more than 70 countries. It is also still questionable whether the digital competition can even be held this summer.

A special thanks again this year to the support of the Förderverein der BiologieOlympiade.

The International Biology Olympiad (IBO) is held in a different country every year. In Germany, the IPN conducts the selection rounds in cooperation with the Ministries of Culture of the German states. The selection process is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

PD Dr. Burkhard Schroeter
Ph: +49 (0)431 880 3135
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