Neuroscience has never been more relevant to pushing the boundaries of humanity’s potential. By studying the mechanisms of the mind, the roots of behavior, the causes of disease, and the capacity to grow and change throughout one’s life, neuroscience opens a window into what makes us human.
Alongside its own merits, the field also serves as a launchpad for public interest in science. With brains of our own, we’re all naturally fascinated by the gift of thought, perception, and experience. In an age when neural networks are being applied to advance technology and brain-computer interfaces are being introduced to market, the study of neuroscience takes center stage. It is the mission of the International Brain Bee to expand that stage to every classroom of the world and, ultimately, fuel the next generation of top scientists and doctors.
Currently, 53 nations are engaged in coordinating Brain Bee programs, and the number progressively increases. About 50,000 students participate across all six continents every year, and more than 600 neuroscientists have been involved with organizing and judging the events. An Alumni Club has been established to sustain the inspired and global community of young scientists into their university and career tracts.
The Brain Bee competition platform is organized on three levels: local, national, and international. Local scientific institutions are licensed by the International Brain Bee (IBB) to carry out city-wide or regional events, engaging students from 14-18 years of age. The first-place prize winners are granted the opportunity to compete at the national level. The National Champions are, in turn, invited to represent their country at the annual international competition, which is hosted by different neuroscience organizations during an international conference.
The format of the competitions vary between events, but the most common program includes a live judging panel of neuroscientists, posing questions about neuroscience directly to the students, in a style much like a Spelling Bee. Hence, the name “Brain Bee”. Additional competition components include a neuroanatomy practical, neurohistology identification and characterization, patient diagnosis based on interactive medical examinations and video footage, and written exams.
Partnerships with and support from universities, organizations, foundations, and companies make the Brain Bee possible. All coordination is done on a volunteer basis by leaders among scientific communities.