Following the cancellation of last year’s competition, the 2021 International Brain Bee (IBB) World Championship crowned two World Champions. 16-year-old Viktoriia Vydzhak from the Ukraine is the 2021 World Champion and 17-year-old Rahil Patel from the United States took the title for 2020. Both will receive a monetary prize of $3,000.
Both second place winners are from Malaysia: Ahmed Adam Bin Razman (17) for 2021 and Yu Cheng Lim (17) for 2020. Two 15-year-old students took third place: Canadian Antoni Klonowski for 2021, and Peter Susanto from Australia for 2020. The monetary prize for second place is US $2,000, and US $1,000 for third place.
A total of 43 students representing 31 nations and regions from six continents were invited to gather virtually from November 5-8, 2021, for an exciting competition and educational social program. The IBB is the world’s premier neuroscience competition for teenagers, and each competitor had previously won their national or regional Brain Bee 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) under pre-arranged supervision within a 24-hour timeframe at the beginning of the World Championship. Based on their total combined scores, 24 finalists participated in the second part of the competition, a live question-and-answer round with four prominent neuroscientist judges.
The top three competitors from each year will also receive additional prizes from one of the IBB’s partners – Leadership Initiatives. The first and second place winners will receive full scholarships to their 2022 Virtual Advanced Medical Neuroscience Internship. The third-place winners will receive one-on-one mentorship calls with two neuroscience experts. All competitors will be offered partial scholarships to attend one of Leadership Initiatives Internship programs at a reduced rate. “International Brain Bee competitors stand above their peers as some of the most inspiring, collaborative, curious, and dedicated students Leadership Initiatives has the honor to work with,” said Marshall Bailly, Executive Director of Leadership Initiatives
The 2021 World Champion Viktoriia Vydzhak ‘took home’ another prize, the inaugural IBB Neuroanatomy/Histology Award, as the competitor with the top scores in both the neuroanatomy and neurohistology components of this year’s competition. The award was established with a donation from IBB Board member Dr. Linda J. Richards (Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University) to recognize the importance
of neuroanatomy and histology to understanding the brain. Viktoriia will receive 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 a cultural video exchange, lectures, a career panel, and a team contest. Following the World Championship, competitors had the opportunity to attend Neuroscience 2021, the virtual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and largest gathering of brain scientists in the
At the Awards Ceremony, Chair of the 2021 IBB World Championship Planning Committee and IBB Board member Dr. Garth A. Fowler noted that because of the incredibly close scores, the number of competitors that advanced to the live judging round doubled from what had been communicated in advance, to give as many competitors as possible the chance to take home the world title.
Dr. Jaime Diaz-Granados, IBB Board Chair, commented, “The knowledge demonstrated by the competitors was amazing and it was inspiring to witness their performance. We look forward to following them and learning about their academic studies and professional careers.”
The IBB was incorporated in 2018 as non-profit educational organization with the support of five international neuroscience and educational organizations. The organizations also form the IBB’s governing body with a sixth Governing Partner that joined in 2021: Alzheimer’s Association, 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
The Brain Bee is online at thebrainbee.org and on social media at
facebook.com/internationalbrainbee and instagram.com/ibb_org.
For more information, contact Astrid Eberhart (IBB Executive Director) at