Lead your city to a sustainable future



February 29 & March 7, 2020


MPP, MPA, and graduate students in related fields Undergraduates are not eligible


See "2020 Sites" section below

What is the NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition?

The NASPAA-Batten Student Simulation Competition is a day-long event that allows graduate students in public policy and related fields to test their skills on real-world data. Each year, the Center for Leadership Simulation and Gaming develops an original participatory simulation specifically tailored for students of public policy and administration. The simulations give participants a chance to employ their knowledge in a realistic situation, as well as an opportunity hone skills in leadership, negotiation, and critical thinking.

As part of the competition, teams will be expected to put together a policy memo and presentation. Evaluations of student performance will be based on two factors: 1) Their team’s simulation scores, and 2) Observations by subject matter experts serving as judges at each host site.

What happens on the competition day?

The competition is an all day event. Teams will travel to their host site, where they will undertake several rounds of the simulation. Each round will last approximately one hour.

After several rounds, student teams will be given time to put together a policy memo and presentation. Experts in related fields will serve as judges.

The experts will evaluate the policy memos and the presentations. Following the presentations, a short debriefing will explain the logic and data behind the simulation. Winners will be announced at the end of the day during the post-competition awards ceremony.

What are competition teams and how do I form one?

Teams are made up of five students. Teams will be comprised of students from different schools.

Deans/Program Directors/PAA Advisors can nominate three students and two alternates.  Nominators will provide the names of at least one and up to five students (three students and two alternates). Alternates are not guaranteed spots in the competition. Click here to nominate students. Alternates will be informed of their status by February 1.

Individual students may apply to compete. Self-registering students may apply starting December 1, 2019.  

What if I’ve been nominated?

Students who have been nominated by a Dean/Director/PAA Advisor to participate in the competition will be notified by a NASPAA Simulation Competition team member. If you intend to participate in the competition, you will need to register here.  As a Dean/Director/PAA Advisor nominee, you be placed in the priority applicant pool. You will need to register to confirm your participation by the deadline, January 25, 2020. 

When is the Competition held?

The competition date is dependent on competition site. Different sites are hosting the NASPAA-Batten Simulation Competition on different dates.

February 29, 2020:
Central European University in Partnership with the United Nations University – MERIT (Budapest, Hungary)
Institute of Public Policy, National Law School of India University Bangalore and Fields of View Bangalore (Bangalore, India)

March 7, 2020:
Pepperdine University (Malibu, California)
University at Albany (Albany, New York)
University of Texas at Arlington in partnership with University of Texas at Dallas (Arlington, TX)
The Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio)
George Mason University (Fairfax, VA/Washington, D.C. Metro Area)

April, 2020:
KDI Institute of Public Policy and Management (Sejong, South Korea)

TENTATIVE Event Schedule: 

Friday February 28/March 6:

  • Students travel to competition location.
  • 6:00 – 8:30 PM: Host Sites coordinate an informal, optional meet and greet at a local bar, venue, pub for students who have arrived early and are interested in mingling with others.

Saturday February 29/March 7: COMPETITION DAY

  • 7:45 – 8:30 AM: Breakfast and Registration
  • 8:30 – 9:15 AM: Introduction Phase
    • Site Welcome, Introductory Video
  • 9:30 – 10:15 AM: Practice Game Phase
    • Judges arrive by 10 AM
  • 10:15 – 11:30 AM: Game 1
  • 11:30– 12:15 PM: Working Lunch
  • 12:15– 1:30 PM: Game 2
  • 1:30 – 2:45 PM: Game 3
  • 2:45 – 3:00 PM: Snack Break
  • 3:00 – 4:00 PM: Presentation and Memo Preparation
  • 4:00 – 5:00 PM: Final Presentations
  • 5:00 – 5:30 PM: Debriefing and Judge Deliberation
  • 6:00 – 8:00 PM: Post-Competition Reception + Closing Remarks and Medal Presentation
    • A celebratory event organized by Host Sites on campus or a nearby venue.
    • Competition winners are announced during the reception.