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Behind the scenes with Kevin Moffat

Hear from colleagues who volunteered to contribute to the International Biology Olympiad (IBO), find out about their role and what they enjoyed about it. It's a chance to see some of the activity that went on behind the scenes to help make the IBO a success.

Behind the scenes with...
Professor Kevin Moffat
Professorial Teaching Fellow and Director of Outreach
School of Life Sciences

Role for the International Biology Olympiad: Organiser, responsibility for all practicals and first contact for Royal Society of Biology (RSB) and University of Warwick interactions.

My usual job involves…
teaching, outreach, research and administration.

In advance of the International Biology Olympiad I…
initiated the organisation and delivery of the British Biology Olympiad at Warwick and enabled colleagues and myself to attend previous International Biology Olympiads. I attended meetings at Warwick and RSB in London, liaised with Warwick Conferences, chaired meetings of local IBO committees and established links with local departments (Chemistry, Physics, IT) over practical and theoretical delivery. I trained technical delivery teams and presented to the sub-jury the week preceding the IBO.

During the International Biology Olympiad I…
did lots! Met officials, liaised with IT and Warwick Conferences. Presented practical examinations to the International Jury. Most importantly I delivered practicals – my own on developmental physiology. I spent two days marking before defending the marking to the International Jury on the final Friday. I was also part of the presentation ceremony at the Awards Dinner.

I really enjoyed being involved with…
my team and delivering a successful practical experience on the day. I perversely enjoyed the team marking experience – us against the world!

The International Biology Olympiad is unique because…
the collegiality it brought to the department was almost humbling. At many points in the preceding months and indeed years, it felt that only a few of us knew what needed to be delivered – the nucleation of so many teams of people delivering their own small part with great affect was sensational – and I am more proud of this department than I have ever been before – well done SLS!

If I could change one thing about the International Biology Olympiad it would be…
to change the way the jury works. This is a matter for the RSB – but I would set up an independent international exam board and have no late discussion in a jury the day before. As a University, and with our partners the RSB, we did an amazing job to effectively squeeze the equivalent of a University year into one week – there must be a more sensible way.

Not everyone knows that…
The calculator rulers were my fault… I often abstained from IBO committee votes on medal design, entertainment, menus, back packs, welcome content – but the rulers were cool!

Hear from other colleagues behind the scenes

Checking 'attention seeking' flags for practical exams
Kevin with medal
Kevin with his IBO gold medal