The Richardson Institute is the oldest peace and conflict research centre in the UK, based in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University. Lancaster has a strong tradition of exploring issues in Peace and conflict studies and the Lancaster Peace Research Centre was formed in 1959, at the same time as the Norwegian Peace Research Institute Oslo. The Richardson Institute was formed in 1969, named after the Quaker Scientist Lewis Fry Richardson, although it emerged out of a number of embryonic initiatives in both Lancaster and London. After a period of time in the capital, the institute moved to Lancaster in 1978 where it has since been directed by Michael Nicholson, Paul Smoker, Morris Bradley, Hugh Miall, Feargel Cochrane and Simon Mabon, who was appointed Director of the institute in 2012.
The institute engages in a range of activities from funded research to teaching. In 1997-8 an MA in Conflict Resolution was established and the following year, a combined major in Peace Studies and International Relations was approved. In 2012, an internship programme was established that gives students from PPR and the wider faculty the opportunity to work with a range of different organisations on issues pertaining to peace and conflict.
The Institute is currently undertaking the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-Sectarianisation project, funded by Carnegie Corporation. It also hosts a Critical Thinking group, which discusses contemporary political issues in the Morecambe Bay area.