Jade Upton, the Queensland regional finalist for the 2017 A&NZBBC.

Sparking an interest in the brain

The Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge (A&NZBBC) is an annual competition for high school students in Year 10 that encourages learning about the brain.

Throughout the competition, students learn about the brain, its functions and neuroscience research. They are introduced to careers in neuroscience and investigate the misconceptions about neurological and mental illnesses.

Students participating in the competition gain access to current and accurate information on the latest advances in neuroscience research. They also develop an understanding of how neuroscience contributes to our community and improves the health of millions of people around the world.

The competition often sparks an interest for students to pursue a career in neuroscience.

All Year 10 students in Australia and Year 11 students in New Zealand are eligible to enter the competition. It runs through a series of rounds, with the Australian and New Zealand winners attending the International Brain Bee, which takes place at an international neuroscience/psychology conference the following year.

The A&NZBBC started in 2006 and in 2016, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Brain Function won the bid to host the A&NZBBC from 2017 to 2020.

2018 Competition

There are 4 rounds to the Australian and New Zealand Brain Bee Challenge.

Round 1 – Online Quiz
Round 1 is held during Brain Awareness Week. Students study the book Neuroscience: Science of the Brain. An Introduction for Young Students by The British Neuroscience Association (BNA) and European Dana Alliance for the Brain (EDAB). They then complete an on-line quiz in their schools under exam conditions to determine their knowledge and understanding of the structure and function of the brain. Education Perfect administers the Round 1 Quiz

Round 2 – Regional Finals
Round 2 of the competition is the State Finals, held in each State and Territory in Australia, and in the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Students who achieve a high score in Round 1 are invited to attend a full day of activities at a university campus or research institution. The Round 2 study book is Brain Facts, 2012 Edition by the Society for Neuroscience.

As well as participating in two rounds of live questioning to determine who will become the State or Territory champion, students also experience a day filled with activities to educate them about neuroscience research. This may include lab tours, demonstrations, lectures, experiments and the opportunity to speak to researchers. There is also a team competition on the day where schools compete against each other to win prizes for their school.

The Regional Finals are held between June and August each year.

Round 3 – National Finals
Round 3 is the National Finals where seven Australian students (one from each state/territory) compete against each other to become the Australian Brain Bee Champion. Round 3 has been held annually since 2007 at the Australasian Neuroscience Society (ANS) conference.

Students compete in four challenges, held over two days including an anatomy challenge, a written short answer challenge, a patient diagnosis challenge and a live question and answer challenge. Students also have the opportunity to attend ANS scientific sessions and meet with scientists, researchers and students involved in neuroscience.

Round 4 – International Finals
Round 4 is the International Brain Bee (IBB). The IBB takes place at an international neuroscience/psychology conference and in the past has been held in places such as America, Europe, South Africa, and Australia.

Important dates:

  • Round 1: 12-16 March 2018 (backup week 19-23 March 2018)
  • Round 2: State finals, June – August 2018
  • Round 3: National Finals, December 2018, Brisbane
  • Round 4: International Brain Bee

Follow the A&NZBBC on Facebook.