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CLSG’s The Pandemic Game


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. Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis, the 2021 competition will take place VIRTUALLY. Competitors will not be traveling. Participants 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.

The virtual competition will take on a similar format as past years’ in-person events.

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/Faculty can nominate up to five students to compete.  Nominators will provide the names of at least one and up to five students. The nomination  will open December 1, 2020 and close January 30, 2021.

This year, there is small fee to compete — $20 USD per student — which will be assessed on the university nomination page.  If a school is unable to cover these costs, please reach out to us at

If a student is not nominated by the school, they have the opportunity to compete. They are required to answer several short-answer questions. Those with the top responses will be admitted into the competition. Self-registering students may apply starting January 20, 2021.  Go to student self-registraion form.

What if I’ve been nominated?

Students who have been nominated by a Dean/Director/PAA Advisor/Faculty to participate in the competition will be notified by a NASPAA Simulation Competition team member. Registration will open December 1, 2020.  As a nominee, you be placed in the priority applicant pool. You will need to register to confirm your participation by the deadline, January 25, 2021. 

Here is the form to fill out to confirm your participation in the event.

When is the Competition held?

This year’s competition will be run VIRTUALLY.

The competition date is dependent on competition site, according to time zone. Different schools are sponsoring the NASPAA-Batten Simulation Competition on different dates.

February 20, 2021: Middle East/Africa/ Europe Time Zone

February 27, 2021: North/Central/South America Time Zone

March 6, 2021: Asia Time Zone

2021 Competition Sites