As a peace research institute, swisspeace scientists seek to understand the causes of wars and violent conflicts, and to formulate conflict mitigation and peacebuilding strategies. Research at swisspeace aims to lay the ground for policy-making in peacebuilding on the one hand, and to contribute to academic debates on peace and conflict research as well as to disseminate practice-oriented results on the other. In addition, inter- and transdisciplinary approaches based on partnerships with academics worldwide, particularly in the South, are key principles of research at swisspeace.

swisspeace conducts research in all its topical areas. In the Statehood program, researchers analyze the day-to-day practices of states in order to understand how new forms of statehood emerge as the result of negotiation processes between various local, national and international actors, while the Mediation program focuses on the development of mediation methodology and topical expertise to fill gaps in peace processes. Researchers in the Dealing with the Past program study restorative and retributive measures, and interrogate assumptions and norms which underpin transitional justice. Finally, researchers in the Analysis & Impact program focus on areas of conflict analysis, conflict sensitivity and peacebuilding evaluation. In addition, the “innovation pool” functions as an incubator and provides space to develop new research areas. Research currently concentrates on Business & Peace.

As an associated institute of the University of Basel, swisspeace is integrated into an internationally known institution of research and higher education. swisspeace researchers have regular teaching assignments at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Basel.

In its affiliation to the University of Basel, swisspeace also trains young university graduates to become future researchers in political science and peace studies. This training is embedded into the Graduate School of Social Sciences (G3S) of the university. Additionally, the doctoral program of the International Graduate School North-South – an inter-university program run by the Universities of Bern, Basel and Zurich – ensures a highly interdisciplinary and strongly international training at the doctoral level.