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PaCE: Patterns of Conflict Emergence

PaCE (Patterns of Conflict Emergence) is a five-year European Research Council (ERC) funded project (2022-26), based in the Department of Political Science at TCD. It aims to uncover recurring temporal sequences in the run-up to war, using machine-learning methods to forecast interstate and civil wars, with a range of data from financial markets, news articles, diplomatic documents and satellite imagery.

There have been more than 200 wars since the start of the 20th century, leading to 35 million battle deaths and countless more civilian casualties. Large-scale political violence still kills hundreds every day across the world. International conflicts and civil wars also lead to forced migration, disastrous economic consequences, weakened political systems, and poverty.

The recurrence of wars despite their tremendous economic, social, and institutional costs, may suggest that we are doomed to repeat the errors of the past. Does history indeed repeat itself? Are there particular temporal patterns in the build up to the onset of wars? Would better understanding of these patterns help us to avoid such conflicts?

Recent advances overcoming methodological and data barriers present an opportunity to identify these recurrences empirically and to examine whether these patterns can be classified to improve forecasts and inform theories of conflict.

Just as DNA sequencing has been critical to medical diagnoses, PaCE aims to diagnose international politics by uncovering the relevant patterns around conflict. The project aims to uncover, cluster, and classify such patterns in meaningful ways to help us improve future forecasts.

Overall, PaCE aims to provide researchers with new fine-grained data; a set of tools to better understand conflicts; improved forecasts; and answers to fundamental questions about whether history repeats itself, and the inherent predictability of conflict processes.


This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (Grant agreement no: 101002240) 

The Team

Thomas Chadefaux, Principal Investigator, Professor in Political Science
Jian Cao, Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Hannah Frank, Doctoral Candidate
Thomas Schincariol, Doctoral Candidate
Gareth Lomax, Doctoral Candidate
Jemimah Bailey, Project Manager

Previous Team Members
Adelberto Claudio Quiros , Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Project Website