Feb. 20, 2018

550 Students Around the World Compete to Stop the Next Pandemic

Students will tackle simulated global health crisis at the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition

On February 24 and March 3, more than 550 graduate students from around the globe will compete through computer-based simulated game play to combat a devastating pandemic during the 2018 NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition. This year’s competition—a partnership between the University of Virginia Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration (NASPAA)—will connect students from 159 universities and 27 different countries at 16 global host sites. The simulation, developed by experts at the Batten School’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming (CLSG) and backed by extensive real-world data, places students in leadership roles within a time-sensitive, fast-paced environment where they must work together to minimize the impact of a deadly infectious disease threatening humanity.

“We are thrilled to launch this data-driven tool to provide the next generation of policymakers with realistic, experiential and fun learning environments,” said CLSG Director Noah Myung. “State-of-the-art simulations like this one accelerate students’ ability to make an instant impact—both in leadership positions and team settings—when they enter the workforce.”


Throughout the day, students will work in teams representing four different countries and assume a variety of high-ranking roles, from Prime Minster to Minister of Public Health, as they navigate difficult policy decisions and their potential outcomes. Their decisions will not only impact national mortality rates, economies, and legitimacy of governance, but also global stability. Will students close international borders, mandate quarantines, or cancel the national festival? Will their actions stay in budget, maintain rule of law and most importantly, save lives? Teams will be evaluated on simulation scores, negotiation skills, and presentations made to regional site judges. A panel of prominent “super judges” will determine the global winner. The CLSG will give $1,500 USD to each member of the winning team and $500 USD to each student in second place for a total of $10,000 USD in prize money.

“Simulation-based learning is an incredibly valuable tool, offering some of the most exciting, intense, and impactful learning on the planet for public affairs education,” said NASPAA Executive Director Laurel McFarland. “In the classroom, our graduate students have been trained to be problem solvers, team players, and analysts— these simulations enhance students’ abilities to tackle complex policy problems they may face in the real world. They’ll be ready for the next global pandemic– or for whatever crisis they might face in their public service career.”



About NASPAA: The Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs, and Administration or NASPAA is the global standard in public service education.  It is the membership organization of graduate education programs in public policy, public affairs, public administration, and public & nonprofit management. Its over 300 members - located across the U.S. and in 24 countries around the globe - award MPA, MPP, MPAff, and similar degrees. NASPAA is the recognized global accreditor of master’s degree programs in these fields.

About the CLSG: The University of Virginia’s Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy prepares students for public life by allowing them to test real-world solutions in a virtual environment. The CLSG designs, develops and implements cutting edge simulations and experiments to advance education in leadership and public policy; conducts rigorous leadership and public policy research using simulations and experiments; and creates a community of scholarship where faculty, researchers and students are supported in their scholarly efforts related to the methodology of simulations and experiments.


In This Article

Assistant Professor of Public Policy, Director of the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming
Phone Number
Office Location/Room Number
Garrett L054