It is great fun and rewarding to run a local brain bee!

The Brain Bee is a wonderful event and rewarding to host.  It is a way to reach out into your community to raise awareness of brain research with students, parents, teachers, and media.  It is a mechanism to recruit top high school students to consider a career in brain research and health sciences, and to showcase your department and university in the community and the local media.

It doesn’t have to cost much in time or money.

All you need is a location for the competition, a neuroscientist to judge the answers, and high school students. It helps to have some volunteer help from graduate and undergraduate students. It is so much fun and such a good way for your university to interact with your community.

Each Local Brain Bee has a coordinator who is affiliated with a university or Canadian Association for Neuroscience. Local coordinators are given the flexibility to conduct their bee at any time or place, and in any way they feel is best for their situation.

On the brain bee competition day, many local bee organizers arrange for lab tours, graduate and undergraduate student presentations, and other activities, but this is flexible; you can do whatever is within your constraints and resources.

However, all brain bees are required to follow these rules (adapted from the International Brain Bee) :

  • No recording devices can be used at the competition during the question and answer period.
  • All Brain Bees must have at least one person knowledgeable in neuroscience to act as a judge (these can be physicians, psychologists, neuoscientists, etc).
  • No registration fees can be collected from the competitors for Local Brain Bees. Local organizers are encouraged to raise funds for travel to send their brain bee champion to compete at the Canadian National Brain Bee.
  • Local Brain Bees must be open to any student who wants to compete, unless there are logistical considerations.
  • A student can compete in only one Local Brain Bee per year.
  • A student must compete in the Local Brain Bee closest geographically to their high school (this is especially important to consider in Ontario which has several local brain bees).
  • A student can compete in the Canadian National Brain Bee and the International Brain Bee only once.

Currently, the Canadian Brain Bee organizers are using the electronic book Neuroscience: Science of the Brain as the main study resource (go to this page to download the book). This book is also used at the National competition and at most of the International competitions. Confidential questions and answers are available (for coordinators only); contact me for details (Dr. Judith Shedden, CCNBB chair).

Please do not share copies of the questions because they are used at other Local Brain Bees across Canada and the integrity of the document must be maintained from year to year.  We also ask that you help add to the question bank.

Local coordinators are encouraged to inform the media of the Brain Bee event. The media loves unique events like this one involving young adults, science, healthcare and competition. It is good for the Brain Bee to receive recognition – we want to make a big noise!

Don’t hesitate to contact other organizers of Canadian local brain bees for start-up advice.  We maintain a secure google discussion group where we share advice and information about all aspects of running a brain bee.  I’ll give you instructions on how to join our google discussion group.