A neuroscience competition aimed at encouraging students to learn and discover the human brain in detail was organised recently.

Razak Faculty of Technology & Informatics (RFTI) hosted the Malaysian Brain Bee Challenge (MBBC) 2020 zone T final competition on the 22nd January 2020 at Menara Razak, UTM Kuala Lumpur.  As a STEM education advocator, we organised MBBC 2020 which focused on Science, specifically Neuroscience, in a competition format targeted for secondary school students.

MBBC 2020, was organised by the Department of Neuroscience, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) in conjunction with the International Brain Bee (IBB). The final competition will be held in Washington D.C. later, in August of this year.

The Brain Bee competition is a non-profit neuroscience competition for high school students from all over the world. It was initiated by Dr. Norbert Myslinski from the University of Maryland. It is hoped that this initiative will inspire them to be more interested in biomedical brain research and to encourage them to further their studies in this area.

The challenge is opened to all students from 15 to 17 years old. Zone T covers schools in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. Seven schools participated in this zone. The schools are SMK Padang Tembak, SMK Victoria, SMK Puteri Titiwangsa, SMK Puteri Wilayah, Sekolah Islam Adni, Sekolah Agama Menengah Hulu Langat, and SMK Tinggi Setapak. In total there were 47 participation from students who took part in the challenge held at UTM Kuala Lumpur.  MBBC 2020 gave the organising team that was led by Ts. Dr. Sathiabama T. Thirugnana an opportunity to promote STEM education.  The Dean of RFTI, Associate Professor Dr. Astuty Amrin welcomed them and wished them the best of luck, just before they started the challenge.

The main objective of this national level competition is to introduce the awareness and understanding of neuroscience to the school students. The program has been acknowledged by the Ministry of Education as a co-curriculum activity for schools in the country. The participants sat for a multiple choice paper and a short answer paper which lasted 50 minutes each. The questions seemed quite tough, though.  At the state level zone final, three grand finalists will be representing their zone at the national level challenge in March 2020. One national champion will be selected to represent the country for the IBB 2020.

Participants of the competition had the opportunity to tour the UTM KL campus with the RFTI MBBC committee members after the competition.

We wish them the best of luck and sincerely hope a Malaysian finalist will represent the nation at IBB 2020.