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Shaping the Next Generation of Virtual Worlds

A Science for Policy event

What are the next generation virtual worlds? Which challenges and opportunities do they bring in today’s world?

Next generation virtual worlds are a new paradigm largely growing due to the increase of ground-breaking technologies such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence and extended reality, and the transition to the Web 4.0.

This expansion is generating numerous opportunities while also presenting challenges in various areas. These two aspects are analysed in the first JRC report on Next Generation Virtual Worlds, published in July 2023, which provides a techno-economic analysis of the digital ecosystem, identifying current key players in different subdomains related to the topic.

On 8 November 2023, we presented the results of this report and dived into the JRC’s new research perspectives on virtual worlds.

Watch the recording

The event hosted a plenary session that addressed the general implications and challenges of researching on virtual worlds, as well as the role of the JRC in doing science for policy:



8 November 2023, 9:30-12:00

  1. 09:30 - 09:40 (CET)
    Opening of the plenary session

    Stephen Quest, Director-General of the Joint Research Centre

  2. 09:40 - 10:00 (CET)
    Virtual Worlds fit for people: a strategy to steer the next technological transition

    Francesca Campolongo, Director of Digital Transformation and Data, Joint Research Centre

    Yvo Volman, Director of Data, Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology

  3. 10:00 - 10:20 (CET)
    Keynote speech: Applications and Risks of Multi-Person Virtual Worlds

    Mel Slater, Distinguished Investigator of the University of Barcelona

    Mavi Sanchez Vives, Head of Systems Neuroscience, IDIBAPS, Barcelona 

    Co-founders of KIIN and Co-Directors of the Event Lab 

  4. 10:20 - 10:30 (CET)
    Facets of next generation virtual worlds: a multidisciplinary perspective

    Isabelle Hupont Torres, Joint Research Centre

  5. 10:30 - 10:40 (CET)
    Industrial applications emerging from next generation virtual worlds

    Cesare Dunker, Policy Officer, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

  6. 10:40 - 10:45 (CET)
    Closing of the first part of the event

    End of livestreaming

  7. 11:00 - 12:00 (CET)
    Parallel sessions

    Three parallel sessions, not streamed

    • Opportunities and implications of Virtual Worlds for the public sector

      This session will explore: emerging practices in the use of virtual worlds by the public sector; accountability and responsibility of the public sector when it comes to virtual worlds and hybrid realities; and implications in terms of human centricity and inclusivity.

    • Immersive technology in education and training

      This session will explore the policy context for immersive technologies in education, recent research findings and also next steps for evidence based policy making.

    • Economic challenges from Next Generation Virtual Worlds

      This session will explore some of the upcoming economic challenges derived from the development of Virtual Worlds. In particular, it will discuss the expected industrial changes, from both the providers and users perspectives. We will explore what the role of the Governments should be to promote a dialogue with industries and raise awareness about these transformative technologies.

Additional resources

screenshot of a virtual room

Explore relevant resources on the Next Generation Virtual Worlds topics and applications, including some of the event's presentations

Contact us

JRC-DIGITAL-GOVERNANCEatec [dot] europa [dot] eu (JRC-DIGITAL-GOVERNANCE[at]ec[dot]europa[dot]eu)