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Teenage biology aces fly UK flag in South Korea

8 July 2010

Three sixth form students are today (8 July) flying out to South Korea to represent the UK at the International Biology Olympiad. Their trip has been funded by the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Hannah Ingamells from Peter Symonds College in Winchester and Daniel Rowlands and Adam Wright from Reading School have formed an elite team to compete against over 200 other students from more than 50 countries, after topping the British Biology Olympiad (BBO).

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said "Maintaining the UK's strong research base depends on encouraging talented students to become our next generation of scientists. It's testament to the dedication of all the schools and organisations involved that we have three exceptional students representing the UK at this prestigious event and I wish them the very best of luck."

BBO chairman, Norma Broadbridge said: "It is heartening to know there are such enthusiastic and able young people, many of whom are shortly to embark on further studies. It augurs well for the future of biological research in this country. The team selected to represent UK at the IBO in Korea carry with them our very best wishes for further successes."

The sixth form students from around the UK are taking 13 A levels between them, including Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Maths. In the autumn, Hannah plans to read Dentistry at the University of Bristol while Daniel and Adam hope to read Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Speaking ahead of their flight, the team who beat nearly 2,000 entrants to earn their place in South Korea, said:

"It's going to be an amazing opportunity to go and meet lots of people with the same interest in biology and try lots of things I've never done before."

"I'm delighted to have honoured my school in the field of biology and hope to do the same for my country."

"I wanted to take part in the Olympiad because I wanted to challenge myself and I'm looking forward to the even greater challenge of the International competition."

Dr Celia Caulcott, Director of Innovation and Skills, BBSRC said: "We face some big challenges in the coming decades from providing food security for a growing global population to helping an ageing population stay healthier for longer to building a 'green' low carbon economy in the UK. We need exceptional researchers to tackle these issues and BBSRC is delighted to be supporting these talented scientists of the future as they head to South Korea. We wish them luck in the competition."



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About the British Biology Olympiad (BBO)

The British Biology Olympiad (BBO) is an annual competition for post-16 students. It is part of the International Biology Olympiad (IBO) and for the past fourteen years it has been associated with the Society of Biology, which provides administrative support for the BBO Committee. In addition to encouraging and rewarding pupils in their studies, the BBO provides a means of selecting a team to represent UK at the IBO.

About the International Biology Olympiad

The International Biology Olympiad (IBO) is a competition for secondary school students. Their skills in tackling biological problems, and dealing with biological experiments are tested. Interest in biology, inventiveness, creativity and perseverance are necessary. In bringing together gifted students, the IBO tries to challenge and stimulate these students to expand their talents and to promote their career as a scientist. Every participating country sends four students, who are the winners of the respective national competitions. They are to be accompanied by two team leaders as representatives of each country.


BBSRC is the UK funding agency for research in the life sciences. Sponsored by Government, BBSRC annually invests around £470M in a wide range of research that makes a significant contribution to the quality of life in the UK and beyond and supports a number of important industrial stakeholders, including the agriculture, food, chemical, healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors.

BBSRC provides institute strategic research grants to the following:

  • The Babraham Institute
  • Institute for Animal Health
  • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences (Aberystwyth University)
  • Institute of Food Research
  • John Innes Centre
  • The Genome Analysis Centre
  • The Roslin Institute (University of Edinburgh)
  • Rothamsted Research

The Institutes conduct long-term, mission-oriented research using specialist facilities. They have strong interactions with industry, Government departments and other end-users of their research.