The French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) is a public French scientific and technological institution that has been working for 75 years in countries of the Global South. It is under the dual authority of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research and the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. Its research, expertise, valorization and training activities aim at contributing to the economic, social and cultural development of the Global South.
IRD in Vietnam (http://vietnam.ird.fr/), through its International Joint Laboratory ACROSS (http://across-lab.org) has recently been awarded a funding by the EuropeAid “Green Partnership with ASEAN” program to develop, with partner schools in the Lower Mekong countries (Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam), a set of “sustainability metaverses”, i.e., educational solutions based on the integration of immersive virtual reality environments with serious games and scientific simulations. This project, called SIMPLE (Sustainability Issues Metaverse for building Participatory Learning Environments), will also be providing an integrated learning environment called the Mobile Metaverse Learning Lab (M2L2) that can be deployed quickly and provide a complete virtual reality playground for classes, even in remote locations with limited Internet bandwidth. The virtual universes developed in SIMPLE will be based on calibrated scientific models validated in well-documented case studies, ensuring the realism of the development scenarios that participants will explore and allowing them to collaborate virtually in real time to explore solutions to sustainability issues.