Mercury game updated + Mercury negotiations research published

We recently made a few modifications to the mercury game. Having completed and published our evaluation of the game (Stokes, Leah C., and Noelle E. Selin. “The mercury game: evaluating a negotiation simulation that teaches students about science-policy interactions.” Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences 6.3 (2016): 597-605), we are no longer collecting surveys. Thank you to all those who sent them in.

In addition, we have published research on the Minamata Convention negotiations: Stokes, Leah C., Amanda Giang, and Noelle E. Selin. “Splitting the South: China and India’s Divergence in International Environmental Negotiations.” Global Environmental Politics (2016).

Mercury game research forthcoming, no longer collecting survey data

Thank you to everyone who took the time to have students fill out pre and post surveys. Using this data, Leah Stokes and Noelle Selin have a journal article forthcoming in Journal of Environmental Studies & Sciences in 2015.

We will no longer be using the surveys, so no need to fill them out going forward. Thanks again to all!

The Mercury Game is featured on the Leopold Leadership Blog

Noelle Selin, a current Leopold Fellow and co-author of the game, recently wrote a short post about our work for the Leopold Leadership blog:

The Mercury Game is now on PON

The Mercury Game is now available to download on the Program on Negotiation’s Clearinghouse website:

All the materials are the same as downloading the game from this website. We include the game on the PON website in order to reach a new audience, focused on teaching negotiations. We hope that this will allow negotiations students to deepen their knowledge of the role science plays in disputes.

Mercury Game version 2.3 posted

The new game includes a debrief presentation with updated information on the finalized text of the Minamata Convention.

For more information on how the negotiations concluded, see the INC5 report from IISD’s ENB.

Final UN negotiations concluded in January

The final round for the mercury treaty negotiations concluded in January in Geneva, Switzerland. Noelle Selin and Leah Stokes, who wrote the

mercury game, attended the negotiations along with students from MIT and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. The experience confirmed that the mercury game closely parallels the dynamics in the actual UN negotiations.

If you would like to read more about what happened at the negotiations, please visit our companion blog:

You may want to assign short readings from the blog to students or participants in the game, to bring them up to speed on the latest developments in the mercury treaty negotiations. The treaty will be officially signed at a diplomatic conference in Japan this fall.

AGU Science Policy Conference – Poster on the Mercury Game

We presented the Mercury Game at the AGU Science Policy conference.

Here is our poster, which shows some preliminary results from game plays.

 You can download the poster here:

AGU Science Policy – Stokes & Selin

Game played at Harvard University and Version 2.2 posted

The Mercury game was played on October 10th, 2012 in Larry Susskind and William Moomaw’s course on International Environmental Negotiation. The students in the course have backgrounds in policy and negotiation and are from countries around the world. One of the students had attended the international mercury negotiations for the past several years. She commented that the game was accurate and gave her new insight.

During the debrief, students commented that playing the game gave helped them consider the role of scientific information in environmental negotiations. They also noted that playing a role changed their perspective on how negotiations unfold in practice.

We recently updated the game (version 2.2) to include summaries of the UNEP INC negotiations up to October 2012. The final negotiation round is currently scheduled for January 2013 in Geneva.

Game played at the University of Toronto and University of Washington

The Mercury Game is now being played in science and social science classrooms around the world. We wanted to share with you some of the feedback we’ve received on the game, in case you are thinking about using the game in your courses but want some feedback from existing users.

Science classroom:

“Just wanted to let you know that five groups of students (49 in total) played the Mercury Game  this week. It was extremely successful! The students really totally bought into it and really enjoyed participating. I think they learned a lot about mercury science and about the intersection of science and policy. Based on how well it was received, I definitely will be incorporating it into my 2nd year course on Chemistry next year.

One of the things that the students really liked was the chance to do some ‘back-room’ dealing before the final voting. I just gave them ~5 minutes to break up into whatever groups they wanted to or start discussions with whomever. I think there ended up being more consensus in the voting as a result.”

Social science classroom:

“It was hugely successful.  The students LOVED it.  I had low expectations because of the level (it is a science for non-science majors class for mainly freshman/sophomores), and they had to come in on a Sunday afternoon to do it.  But I was impressed.  They seemed to learn a lot.  I will be doing this every time I teach this class (usually once per year).  It made my subsequent lectures on the Montreal Protocol and Kyoto Protocol much more meaningful.  Thank you for providing this wonderful teaching resource!”

Game updates:

The game was recently updated to include more ideas on scientific communication. We encourage you to download the latest version, v. 2.1,  for all the updates.

Mercury Game v 2.0 posted

An updated version of the full Mercury Game package was posted on January 30th 2012. The package includes an 11th role – India – which can be played optionally with larger groups.

The game also includes an updated version of the Teaching Note and updated surveys, including online links to the surveys.

We are currently researching the game and would greatly appreciate you using our pre and post surveys if you play the game. The first survey can be emailed with the game materials before the game is played. Please ask players to fill out the first survey before they review the game materials. The second survey can be sent in a follow up email right after the game is played.

We greatly appreciate you using these surveys to support our research! We hope you enjoy the updated version of the game. Please let us know if you have any feedback.

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