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Event Internship opportunity: State of the art on "Role playing games and experiments" for water management

Objectives of the internship

The general objective of the research is to explore the ways of interpreting the results of a role playing game designed to support a population in the formulation of a problem, or the search for a solution to an identified problem, related to water management.

To address this question, the intern will start by identifying role-playing games related to water management issues reported in academic and grey literatures. She/he will identify the results expressed and the procedures implemented to produce these results. She/he will analyse how these procedures differ from those implemented in standard experimental approaches and in close or concurrent analytical domains. In particular approaches from the following scientific communities will be explored and mobilised:

  • Experimental economics, especially its developments in field experiments
  • Operational research (behavioral economics), decision theory
  • Other experimental social and human sciences
  • Companion modeling (Commod), role-playing game
  • Serious games, business games
  • Game theory.


The objective of the analysis is to reveal differences and similarities among these various disciplines, their specific objects, the research questions they address, the concepts which structure their approach and their links with the decision-support approach.

The focus will be on works applied to water management issues. However, research applied to common-pool resources management in general may be explored as well if the set of works applied to water management is too limited.

Proposed grid of analysis:

  • What practical water management issues do these works address (e.g., resource allocation, pollution mitigation, public policy assessment)?
  • What are the objectives of the approach (knowledge extraction for the modeler, capacity building of participants, problem formulation, conflict resolution, or instrument assessment)? How precisely are the objectives formulated? (e.g., in the case of stakeholders’ capacity building, the level of detail would be: « they need to learn the functioning of the local hydraulic system).
  • How the target population is defined and participants are selected (use of the sampling theory)? Who are the participants (real stakeholders or lay participants)
  • Who is involved in the design of experiments: analysts or participants or both?
  • What are the assumptions on individual rationality? How do these assumptions determine the objectives and protocols of experiments?
  • How is the studied situation constrained? What are the controlled factors? What are the implicit or explicit experimental designs? Among other things, how are behavioral rules constrained in the protocols?
  • Monitoring and control instruments (measure, recording, treatment of results): what is recorded and how in a game or an experiment? What are the associated assessment instruments? (type of statistical models, panel data treatment)
  • Reproducibility: to what extent can a game or an experiment be repeated?
  • What are the rules for publishing protocols and results in the various disciplines (for example in experimental economics, protocols should be published in extenso)

Expected profile of the candidate

Students at Master level from Science Epistemology (Philosophy) or Management Sciences are welcome.

Duration of the internship: 4 to 6 months, starting from March 2008 (starting date is flexible)
Internship allowance and travelling expenses
Location : Montpellier (INRA or Cemagref), France
Scientific supervision : Patrick Rio (INRA) & Sylvie Morardet (Cemagref)

Contact information Patrick Rio (INRA) & Sylvie Morardet (Cemagref) (email: ;
Phone: +33 4 99 61 24 92/ +33 4 67 04 63 49 ; Fax: +33 4 67 16 64 40
Event type Training
File link n/a
Geographical coverage France
Address Montpellier (INRA ou Cemagref), France
Organizer Patrick Rio (INRA), UMR LAMETA: 2, place Viala 34060 Montpellier Cedex 1/ Sylvie Morardet (Cemagref), UMR G-EAU: 361, Rue Jean François Breton, BP 5095, 34196 Montpellier Cedex 05, France
Target audience National
Duration 4 to 6 months
Period [01/03/2008 - 31/08/2008]
Status Confirmed
Working language(s) ENGLISH , FRENCH