The CRS was officially established in 1963 at University College, London with founding members including John Burton and Cedric Smith, before moving briefly to the University of Kent. The Conflict Research Society was part of the original push for conflict and peace research to be an area of study in its own right.
The CRS was inaugurated at a time when the realist approach to International Relations was dominant in Britain and United States, and during the Cold War that polarised the world between East and West. Founding members, including John Burton, were among the first and most effective scholars to challenge the polarised and realist approach to international affairs and conflict. Concerned with the causes of war and conditions of peace, the CRS was the first British academic group to focus on conflict and peace research. The CRS predated the Bradford School of Peace Studies and the extension of conflict studies into other UK academic departments.
In 1969, the Conflict Research Society created the Richardson Institute for Peace Studies as its research arm and was subsequently assisted by Lancaster University under the wing of its Department of Politics. The CRS is now based at the University of Kent, housed within the Conflict Analysis Research Centre, within the Department of Politics and International Relations.
The CRS has members including many distinguished peace research experts, practitioners and others with wide involvements in related disciplines. The CRS brings together internationally renowned academic departments, research networks and NGOs. The society continues to play an influential part in bringing together a great diversity of interests to support the advance of our understanding of peace and conflict processes.