This week we the EU Policy Lab attended the AAAS meeting in Boston. The meeting has been a great opportunity to inform the participants about our activities and especially to present the serious game Scenario Exploration System (SES) to a larger audience. Thanks to the appealing look of the game board and the bright colours of the chips and cards, many participants were driven to our table, to understand what was happening and ask information about the Joint Research Centre activities.

We managed to play 4 sessions (2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday ) with participants of all ages. On Saturday many teenagers and their families were around for the Family Science Days so we had some kids (13-15 years olds) in our sessions too. Exploring scenarios and playing their roles in the game was definitely a bit more challenging for them but they were really into it and seemed very satisfied with the game experience. Parents and educators were also enthusiastic as their kids were having the opportunity to think more systemically about the world they live in.

The adults enjoyed the SES too! One of them for example particularly appreciated to see the creative solutions people chose in the game and described it as “constrained enough for the actions to be concrete but open enough to allow space for creativity”. Others found very interesting to see how the players were forced to adjust their strategies over the time framework and how pleasing the public voice was more challenging than expected. Many asked to receive the game files, to use them for stakeholder engagement and strategic thinking purposes.

Beside organising 3 successful sessions during the meeting :”Nuclear forensic to combat terrorism“, “A changing landscape of scientific excellence: will it affect competitiveness” and  “Making sense of an abundance of knowledge to inform policy-making“, the Joint Research Centre hosted a briefing at the EU booth, presenting the results of its collaboration with NASA and USGS in mapping the impacts of humans on the face of the planet. An example of this collaboration is the JRC’s Global Surface Water Explorer, a dataset to map the location and distribution of water surfaces, providing statistics on changes of those surfaces.

There were many other interesting stands we managed to visit in the exhibition hall, such us the one of the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), where they  showed how to grow plants in space or the one of Tokyo University of the Arts, presenting their “clone cultural properties” technology, combining art and science to preserve artwork while making it accessible to the public in the form of extremely accurate reproduction.

We met with Marissa Weiss, from Science Policy Exchange, who attended one of our game session and introduced us to her organisation, a collaborative of six research institutions in the US, working at the interface of science and policy to confront pressing environmental challenges mostly linked to energy transformation, landscape and resilience and water sustainability. They also had a booth at the meeting, where they asked participants to draw their ecosystem and participate to their raffle.

Are you interested in learning more about our presence at the meeting or do you want to access the Scenario Exploration System? Then do not hesitate to get in touch!

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