Association of swiss Science olympiads
Swiss Biology Olympiad
University of Bern

IBO - International Biology Olympiad

The International Biology Olympiad is an international competition for secondary school students which is hosted every year by a different IBO member and takes approximately one week.

The exams focus on:

  • the skills in dealing with biological problems.
  • the ability to tackle biological experiments.

For a successful performance interest in biology, inventiveness, creativity and perseverance are necessary.

Who can participate?

All secondary school students (aged between 14 and 19) that are not yet enrolled at a university or a similar educational institute can participate. As the winners of the National Biology Olympiad, the four best qualify for the International Biology Olympiad. The Swiss Biology Olympiad starts in August in all secondary schools of Switzerland.


The aims of the International Biology Olympiads are:

  • To challenge and stimulate students to expand their talents and to promote their career as scientists.
  • To promote the dialog between students, teachers and scientists from all over the world.
  • To promote cooperation in scientific education and to offer the opportunity to compare the syllabuses and educational trends in biology around the globe.


The Biology Olympiads cover the complete range of modern biology, from disciplines as different as biochemistry to ethology or ecology. However, the exams will focus on molecular and medical biology. Hence, two thirds of the exams consist of questions from the fields of molecular, cellular or evolutionary biology, genetics, or physiology.


Scientific Olympiads are rooted in student competitions held in central Europe and were founded under the auspices of the UNESCO in the year 1959. The first international biological competition between Czechoslovakia and Poland from 1985 to 1989 provided ground for the future IBO.
The IBO Coordinating Centre in Prague acts as a secretariat; it coordinates activities and ensures all information services for IBO member and related institutions. The official IBO Guide contains all information and the organization rules of the IBO.

Switzerland and the International Biology-Olympiads

For further information on Switzerland and the International Biology Olympiads, please click here.

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