Watson CenterUR


The Peter D. Watson Center for Conflict and Cooperation was founded in 1989, with the help of a generous gift from Peter Dekker Watson, to promote research on the causes of international conflict and cooperation.

The Watson Center typically invites three or four outside speakers during the academic year, who are asked to present research in various stages of development. The Center's second main focus is to Fund students in their data gathering projects. Projects must satisfy two requirements:

  1. The project must fit in the broad description of the mission of the Peter D. Watson Center.
  2. The student must give a detailed "after action" report on the process of gathering data.


  • Almost all IR and Comparative students write a dissertation with an empirical component. This is for a variety of reasons, including straightforward market demand.
  • Existing data is almost always collected with one explicit project in mind, and may not be optimal for the purposes of other projects. Indeed, much data that the field relies on is riddled with errors.
  • The program has for a very long time emphasized development of the students' methodological tool box, but almost completely ignored the materials that those tools are supposed to operate on. Remember: garbage in, garbage out, no matter how cool your estimator. We now have a significant number of junior faculty who - gasp* -- actually use data and even collect their own data. This should tell you something about the direction of the field.
  • There is potential to significantly upgrade our data analysis abilities with the establishment of the U of R Georgen Institute of Data Science.