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Open AccessEditor’s ChoiceArticle

Multi-Stakeholder Development of a Serious Game to Explore the Water-Energy-Food-Land-Climate Nexus: The SIM4NEXUS Approach

Integrated Water Systems and Governance Department, IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, PO Box 3015, 2601DA Delft, The Netherlands
DHI Group, Agern Allé 5, DK-2970 Hørsholm, Denmark
Eurecat, Lleida Agri-food Science and Technology Park, ICT Building, Ground Floor, 2, 25003 Lleida, Spain
Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Changes, IAFES Division, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Department of Science for Nature and Environmental Resources (DipNeT), University of Sassari, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Centre for Water Systems, College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences, University of Exeter, Exeter EX4 4QF, UK
Civil Engineering Department, University of Thessaly, GR-38334 Volos, Greece
Wageningen Economic Research, PO Box 29703, 2502LS The Hague, The Netherlands
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Water 2018, 10(2), 139;
Received: 15 December 2017 / Revised: 19 January 2018 / Accepted: 30 January 2018 / Published: 1 February 2018
Water, energy, food, land and climate form a tightly-connected nexus in which actions on one sector impact other sectors, creating feedbacks and unanticipated consequences. This is especially because at present, much scientific research and many policies are constrained to single discipline/sector silos that are often not interacting (e.g., water-related research/policy). However, experimenting with the interaction and determining how a change in one sector could impact another may require unreasonable time frames, be very difficult in practice and may be potentially dangerous, triggering any one of a number of unanticipated side-effects. Current modelling often neglects knowledge from practice. Therefore, a safe environment is required to test the potential cross-sectoral implications of policy decisions in one sector on other sectors. Serious games offer such an environment by creating realistic ‘simulations’, where long-term impacts of policies may be tested and rated. This paper describes how the ongoing (2016–2020) Horizon2020 project SIM4NEXUS will develop serious games investigating potential plausible cross-nexus implications and synergies due to policy interventions for 12 multi-scale case studies ranging from regional to global. What sets these games apart is that stakeholders and partners are involved in all aspects of the modelling definition and process, from case study conceptualisation, quantitative model development including the implementation and validation of each serious game. Learning from playing a serious game is justified by adopting a proof-of-concept for a specific regional case study in Sardinia (Italy). The value of multi-stakeholder involvement is demonstrated, and critical lessons learned for serious game development in general are presented. View Full-Text
Keywords: nexus; participatory modelling; serious game; system dynamics; water-food-land-energy-climate nexus; participatory modelling; serious game; system dynamics; water-food-land-energy-climate
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Sušnik, J.; Chew, C.; Domingo, X.; Mereu, S.; Trabucco, A.; Evans, B.; Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, L.; Savić, D.A.; Laspidou, C.; Brouwer, F. Multi-Stakeholder Development of a Serious Game to Explore the Water-Energy-Food-Land-Climate Nexus: The SIM4NEXUS Approach. Water 2018, 10, 139.

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