Chun Hei Tai, a 16-year-old student from Hong-Kong is the winner of the 25th International Brain Bee and the 2023 IBB World Champion. Second place went to Stanley Zhang from New Zealand, and third place to Kimia Ahmadi from Iran. The World Championship took place in conjunction with the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention in Washington, DC, this year’s host conference.
The IBB is the world’s premier neuroscience competition for teenagers. The World Championship brings together students from across the world for an exciting competition and educational experience A total of 31 national Brain Bee champions from across the globe took part in the virtual 2023 event held from July 31-August 5. Each competitor had previously won the highest level of Brain Bee competition in their country to qualify for the World Championship.
The challenging competition was conducted in two parts. All competitors completed four separate tests (written exam, neuroanatomy, neurohistology, and patient diagnosis) within a 48-hour timeframe at the beginning of the World Championship. Based on their total combined scores, 14 finalists advanced to the Live Judging Session, a question-and-answer round with four prominent neuroscientist judges. Two special guests introduced the finalists and announced the top three finishers at the award ceremony: 2022 World Champion Helene Li from Canada, and 2022 third-prize winner Ugne Birstonaite from Lithuania.
“APA was honored to host this year’s World Championship on the 25th anniversary of the IBB and the 5th anniversary of its incorporation. I am proud of all our National Champions and their achievements,” says Jaime Diaz-Granados (IBB Board Chair and Deputy CEO of APA).
The IBB World Champion will receive a monetary prize of US $3,000, a personalized plaque and a medal. The second and third place winners will also receive a medal and monetary prizes of US $2,000 and $1,000, respectively.
The top five winners were also presented with a very special new prize, announced at the Welcome Ceremony as part of a new strategy for the IBB. The top five champions will have the opportunity to participate in the inaugural IBB NextGen event at the FENS (Federation of European Neuroscience Societies) Forum in Vienna, Austria, in June 2024. Joining Chun Hei, Stanley, and Kimia will be Julia Nakoneczna from Poland and Mark Piasecki from Canada.
The new strategy of a virtual championship and a subsequent IBB NextGen in-person event has been designed to ensure accessibility, equity, and diversity. To align with the IBB’s objective to encourage students to pursue a career in neuroscience, neuroscience-related fields, or medicine, IBB NextGen will focus on their future academic pursuits and career development. The World Championship will continue to be held virtually and will be aligned with the annual Society for Neuroscience meetings moving forward. The 2025 IBB NextGen will be hosted at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC) in the US, and the 2026 event will be hosted at the FENS Forum 2026 in Madrid, Spain.
“FENS congratulates the national champion participants of the 25th International Brain Bee. They represent the next generation of neuroscientists who inspire the field with their achievements. We look forward to celebrating them at the first ever IBB NextGen event taking place during the FENS Forum 2024 in Vienna, Austria,” says Tasia Asakawa, FENS Executive Director.
Stanley Zhang from New Zealand ‘took home’ another prize, the 2023 IBB Neuroanatomy/Histology Award, as the competitor with the top scores in both the neuroanatomy and neurohistology components of the competition. The prize consists of US $100 and a book on the works of 1906 Nobel Laureate Santiago Ramon y Cajal.
In addition to the competition, the World Championship program also included team activities, a cultural video exchange, keynote lectures, an interactive neuroscience demonstration, and a career panel. Most of the session, including the Opening Ceremony and Award Ceremonies were live streamed and can be viewed on YouTube.
The IBB was incorporated in 2018 as a non-profit educational organization and is supported and governed by: the Alzheimer’s Association, the American Psychological Association (APA), the Dana Foundation, the Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS), the International Brain Research Organization (IBRO), and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN).
The IBB also thanks its program partners and sponsors including Leadership Initiatives, the International Youth Neuroscience Association (IYNA), CollegeAdvisor, the Fonds de recherche du Québec, and the Cajal Club