Press Release

Students Continued to Shine at International Meets Despite COVID-19; Singapore to Host IOI 2021

  • Oct 14, 2020
  • MOE

In view of the COVID-19 situation, international competitions in 2020 could not carry on as per normal1. Instead, many were reformatted to allow countries to participate virtually, giving students the opportunity to continue pursuing their passions through these competitions.

2. In Singapore's case, for example, our students continued to fly our flag high at the International Olympiads for the Sciences, Mathematics and Informatics, as well as the New Zealand Young Physicists' Tournament, held virtually from July to September 20202.

3. The International Olympiad of Informatics (IOI) was also held in Singapore for the first time in September this year, organised by the National University of Singapore (NUS). President Halimah Yacob was the Guest-of-Honour for the virtual opening ceremony, while Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat was the Guest-of-Honour for the virtual closing ceremony. Following the successful hosting of IOI 2020 by NUS, Singapore will also be the host for IOI 2021.

4. Although this year's IBO was cancelled, a special IBO Challenge was still organised. The Singapore team garnered one Gold medal and three Silver medals at the remotely-conducted IBO Challenge 2020 from 11 to 12 August 2020. The students performed a diverse range of complex tasks, such as reconstituting and drawing the shape of a structure based on photographs, plus accessing an online Bioinformatics database to input specific DNA/amino acid sequences and search for sequence alignments based on specific thresholds and parameters. Singapore ranked 5th in a field of 47 countries/territories with 186 participants.

*Refer to for more information on the IBO.

5. The Singapore team secured three Gold medals and one Silver medal at the remotely-conducted IChO held on 25 July 2020. Students explored an interesting range of theoretical tasks, such as total synthesis of an organic compound isolated from the plant catnip, and the thermodynamics of H3BO3 sublimation obtained from a reaction between diborane and water in a hypothetical universe. Singapore was placed joint 3rd in a field of 60 countries/territories with 231 participants.

*Refer to for more information on the IChO.

6. The Singapore team won four Silver medals and two Bronze medals at the IMO held virtually from 19 to 28 September 2020. The students were tasked to solve six challenging problems, including one inspired by the current social distancing measures imposed around the world. Singapore was placed 16th amongst 105 countries/territories with 616 participants.

*Refer to for more information on the IMO.

7. The Singapore team clinched three Silver medals and one Bronze medal at the IOI organised by NUS from 13 to 19 September 2020. As host, Singapore also sent a second team which clinched one Silver medal and two Bronze medals. During the competition, students faced challenging computational problems which tested their ability to design and implement efficient algorithms and data structures. Based on the first team's results, Singapore was placed joint 19th in a field of 87 countries/territories with 343 participants.

*Refer to for more information on the IOI.

8. As the 33rd International Young Physicists' Tournament (IYPT) was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Singapore team was invited to participate in the NZYPT 2020 instead by the New Zealand Local Organising Committee. The Singapore team emerged 1st in the tournament, held online from 10 to 12 July 2020. During the tournament, students presented their research on problems related to everyday phenomenon, and were engaged in discussions and counter-solutions with the opposing teams. The problems included investigating the characteristics of sounds produced by a toy consisting of a corrugated plastic tube that was spun around.

For example, the International Physics Olympiad and the International Young Physicists’ Tournament were cancelled this year.

Our students' participation in these international competitions is a joint effort between MOE and the following organisations: Singapore Mathematical Society; Singapore Institute of Biology; Institute of Physics, Singapore; DSO National Laboratories; Singapore National Institute of Chemistry; National University of Singapore; and National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.