The Australian Brain Bee Challenge (ABBC) is a competition for high school students in year 10 to learn about the brain and its functions, learn about neuroscience research, find out about careers in neuroscience and to dispel misconceptions about neurological and mental illnesses.

The program was started in Australia in 2006 to address a number of deficiencies in the public's perception of science in general, and neuroscience in particular.

The ABBC provides current and accurate information on the latest advances in neuroscience research, its value to the community, and promote careers in science and technology.

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

The Brain Bee Challenge Rounds

There are 4 rounds to the Australian 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. 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, 2018 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 State 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 4 challenges, held over 2 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.