The Centre for Peace and Development Studies (CPDS) brings together a community of scholars with a commitment to studying conflict, peacebuilding and development at local, national and global levels and from diverse perspectives. It fosters individual and collaborative research by creating a network or staff, PhD candidates and MA students across disciplines, including members from politics, public administration, psychology, education within the university. It facilitates engagement with a wider group of external scholars and practitioners through seminars, guest lectures, research partnerships and associate membership. The CPDS accommodates the MA in Peace and Development and the MA in Development and students become active members.
The CPDS promotes five research strands: on political violence, democratisation, globalisation and resistance, conflict transformation and civic engagement, looking within Ireland and globally. When it was founded in 1997, its early focus was mainly on conflict resolution in Northern Ireland, building on its original association with the Irish Peace Institute. This interest is sustained in the work of current members, among them Professor Orla Muldoon, and in the work of students on the MA in Peace and Development programme, who participate in an annual study trip to Belfast or Derry. In the last five years, with Professor Tom Lodge as Director, there has been an emphasis on creating a cluster of staff and PhD students with expertise on Sub-Saharan Africa. Another important research trajectory has been in poverty alleviation and social exclusion in and around Limerick. The centre also benefits from key members with expertise in Latin America and the post-Soviet Caucuses.
Staff affiliated to the CPDS have a track record of winning research awards and several recent or current PhD students have been awarded Marie Curie or IRCHSS fellowships. The centre has developed external networks though an award in 2008 under the Irish Aid/HEA strategic Programme of Cooperation with Higher Education Institutions; through training activities with Irish Aid; through the European Doctoral Enhancement Network in Peace and Conflict Studies; and through its inclusion in the Georgia Education and Enterprise Project (GEEP). It aims to reinforce these existing links, while continuing to forge new connections with scholars and practitioners who share an interest in researching obstacles to and struggles for peace and development.