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The Serious Game developed by the EU-funded project SIM4NEXUS (GA 689150) (2016-2020) investigates bio-physical and policy interlinkages across five nexus domains: water, land, food, energy, and climate, facilitating learning and design of policies within the nexus.

The serious game is a cloud-based integrated tool for testing and evaluating 30+ year policy decisions. Watch this video demonstration:

The game shows the impacts of resource use and relevant policies on agriculture, water, energy, land use and climate through a model-based analysis using real data from selected case studies at regional, national and transboundary scale.

Figure 1: Screenshot from the SIM4NEXUS Serious Game Figure 1: Screenshot from the SIM4NEXUS Serious Game

It is available as three separate versions and showcases (three levels: easy, intermediate, advanced)

These three versions of the Serious Game are now being demonstrated and “played” in various fora (including the business sector, but also water utilities and universities), raising awareness on the Nexus and related policies. The best results have been achieved through facilitated training on case studies. This enables the facilitators to obtain feedback on the scenarios and to define facilitation methods for different audiences and cases. So far, the feedback has been positive and the participants have described how their learning experiences on the nexus interlinkages have been enriched through the game.

Impacts (financial, environmental, operational, other)

Virtual digital tools (as this Serious Game) enable players to implement different policies and “see” their long-term impact on the Nexus. For instance, they can investigate whether the setting of a target to reduce by 30% CO2 emissions may be implemented at all and which will be the impact on the five components of the nexus (water-energy-food-land-climate). The latter is shown to the player through specific indicators, representing the “health” of the nexus. The video provides more details.

As tools, Serious Games have a significant impact in actor awareness and capacity building, in the domain of the Nexus, but also in other water-related challenges. Thus stakeholders (decision-makers, policymakers, citizen groups, NGOs, students) can learn about the interactions between the water sector and the other Nexus sectors. Their development involves Complexity Science Modelling, where ontologies and data from different sectors are shared and combined (the SIM4NEXUS approach) [2].

Synergies among the different sectors of the nexus are key for the Green Deal and the related EU policies. Consequently Serious Games, as the SIM4NEXUS one, have the potential to contribute to social awareness, but also to help decision-makers to investigate alternatives for potential policies at the regional or national level.

For whom? Who can benefit?

It can benefit water sector stakeholders (water managers, citizen groups, policymakers, NGOs) students and the general public. With the serious game training, diverse groups of stakeholders or students can improve their understanding of the interlinkages between sectors and decision making, while expert audiences can engage in more technical and complex conversations on the most effective policies to address synergies and trade-offs. A full report on outcomes of serious gaming for the water sector, for different audiences, is given in.


Demonstrations, facilitating and training can be provided on request. Contact us for details!


Brouwer F., Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia L.S., Alexandri E., Bremer I., Griffey M. and Linderhof V. (2018). The Nexus concept integrating energy and resource efficiency for policy assessments; a comparative approach from three cases, Journal Sustainability MDPI, Sustainability 201810(12), 4860;

Sušnik, J.; Chew, C.; Domingo, X.; Mereu, S.; Trabucco, A.; Evans, B.; Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia, L.; Savić, D.; Laspidou, C.; Brouwer, F. (2018) Multi-Stakeholder Development of a Serious Game to Explore the Water-Energy-Food-Land-Climate Nexus: The SIM4NEXUS Approach. Water 2018, 10(2), 139;

Khoury M., Gibson M.J., Savic D., Chen A., Vamvakeridou-Lyroudia L.S., Langford H. and Wigley S. (2018). A Serious Game designed to explore and understand the complexities of flood mitigation options in urban-rural catchments, Journal Water MDPI, Water 201810(12), 1885;

Tool Expert(s)

Dr Mehdi Khoury

Main Contact

Stefania Munaretto

Contact for Training/Facilitation

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