How do you convince others to accept your argument? What tricks can you use? What is your own negotiation style, and how can you adjust it to be a better mediator and achieve what you want? Why do international organisations take so long to make decisions?

Within Aston University's undergraduate and postgraduate politics and international relations programmes, the Negotiations Skills module stands out as one of the most innovative. It has received recognition from the Political Studies Association, which awarded it the prestigious PSA Award for Innovation in Teaching Politics (2018), and the module has been evolving ever since.

The module offers an alternative approach to learning negotiation skills, emphasising a philosophy of learning-by-doing and a hands-on approach. It teaches students how to articulate their arguments effectively, present them persuasively, and challenges them in ways that other modules do not. The focus is on international, multicultural negotiations, explored through role-play simulation games within environments such as the European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) or World Trade Organization (WTO).

Group of EuroSim students


Group of EuroSim students

The module provides practical experience and enhances skills for future employability through an authentic learning approach. Students are immersed in real-life situations and documents, fostering a professionalising environment and greater involvement. They emerge from the module equipped with knowledge of international decision-making, negotiation and communication skills, and experience in bridging differences to reach collaborative conclusions.

Negotiation topics range from simple team decisions to complex issues like renegotiating the EU Artificial Intelligence Act or building a new framework for the UN's solution for the Gaza Strip. The key skills that students develop to handle negotiations and achieve their goals can later be applied to real-life situations, such as negotiating their new job contracts, convincing their bosses of their points of view, and reaching agreements on highly relevant company contracts.


Every year, the top-performing students from the Negotiation Skills module, determined by their grades, participate in the international EuroSim.

EuroSim is an annual intercollegiate simulation of the European Union (EU), designed to provide a platform for the partial simulation of major EU issues. Over two hundred students from universities in North America and Europe take part in the simulation, assuming roles such as Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), members of the European Commission, heads of government and national ministers.

This experience not only offers students the chance to engage with international perspectives but also allows them to network with peers from across Europe and the United States of America, providing valuable opportunities for international travel and collaboration.

Group of EuroSim students


Group of EuroSim students at Niagara Falls

In previous years, Aston University 'EuroSimers' have visited New York, Brockport and Rochester in the USA. As part of those visits, they also explored Niagara Falls, the United Nations building in New York, and had fabulous experiences in Manhattan.

During EuroSim in Europe, they travelled to Antwerp and Brussels in Belgium, where, in addition to visiting the European Union’s institutions, they sampled some of the best chocolate and beer that Europe has to offer.

EuroSim is not only about simulations of real decision-making but also about experiencing firsthand the places and people involved in those decisions.


One of the most important elements of the module is the creation of a community among its students. For a number of years, we have been building the Aston University EuroSim family, which includes students from various cohorts who have taken the module. We maintain a Twitter/X account, a webpage, and a LinkedIn group, where you can read some of the students’ feedback and testimonials on the module.


Written by Dr Patrycja Rozbicka

Group of EuroSim students