Research Projects

Research Projects

Ford Institute faculty, affiliates and students are engaged in research projects that investigate the causes of violent conflict, the effects of violence on civilians, and ways to achieve and maintain peace.

Current Research

    Causes of Violence
    • The Ford Institute and the Henry L. Stimson Center launched the project “Unpacking the Process of Violence” in Washington, DC, June 2009. The project builds on work done for the Genocide Prevention Task Force report, specifically on the effort to “interruption points” at which outsiders can stop the escalation of conflict using a “menu“ of policy tools.
    • As part of this project, the Working Group on Unpacking the Process of Violence is conducting research based on a draft model of escalation, starting with break down of the social contract and progressing through stages to the extreme act of mass killing. A diagram of the draft model can be found here.
    • M. Najeeb Shafiq and Abdulkader H. Sinno. "Education, Income, and Support for Suicide Bombings: Evidence from Six Muslim Countries." Journal of Conflict Resolution, 54(1) 146–178. "The authors examine the effect of educational attainment and income on support for suicide bombing among Muslim publics in six predominantly Muslim countries that have experienced suicide bombings: Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey."
    Corporations, Environment and Health
    • Corporate activity in industrial production contributes to economic growth and prosperity, but it also increases health and environmental risks. The human costs of chronic pollution and industrial accidents can be seen in events such as the release of deadly gas from a chemical plant in Bhopal and the Deepwater Horizon oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico. Our research agenda evaluates the potential and limitations of corporate self-regulation programs for reducing health and environmental risks, and the potential for third party regulatory programs to enhance these efforts. Our current focus is on the US chemical industry and the cleanup of hazardous waste. We have built a longitudinal database of the U.S. chemical manufacturing sector and hazardous waste sites that enables us to move beyond the rhetoric of CSR to conduct empirical analysis.
    Humanitarian Assistance

    Institutional Reform in Weak and Failing States Peace Operations

    Recording and Estimating Civilian Casualties
    • The aim of is to serve as a forum for members of the civilian casualty recording and estimation community to share, discuss, debate, and hopefully to begin to resolve the wide variety of methodological and theoretical challenges they face on a daily basis. This site is hosted and moderated by faculty members from Carnegie Mellon University and University of Pittsburgh. We do not have any particular stake or position in the debates that take place on this site. Our only goal is to facilitate interaction that advance the science of casualty recording and estimation.
    • Co-sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, the Graduate School of Public Health and the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, this site grew out of a U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) funded conference that was held in October 2009 at Carnegie Mellon University. Click here to visit the conference website.
    The Responsibility to Protect
    • Professor Taylor Seybolt served on the Expert Group on Military Intervention for the Genocide Prevention Task Force. Under the leadership of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Secretary of Defense William Cohen, the Task Force released its report Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers in December 2008.
    • The report is available at
    • An op-ed about the Task Force report is available here.
    • Dr. Seybolt led working groups on the topic of Responsibility to Protect from 2008-2011.
    • In 2009, Dr. Seybolt presented the paper "Does the 'Responsibility to Protect' Encourage Third-party Intervention?" at the annual conference of the American Political Science Association.
    Working Groups

Past Research 

Ford Institute for Human Security
3930 Wesley W. Posvar Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15260