Launch event

The University launched its new Strategic Initiative in Language Sciences at a special one-day conference at Newnham College on 12 May, attended by over 90 delegates.

Around 20 different departments and affiliated research bodies were represented at the event, which was designed to promote awareness of the Language Sciences Initiative and to encourage the active participation of the research community in setting the agenda.

After a welcome given by Dr Henriëtte Hendriks of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Professor Lynn Gladden, Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research, and Professor Simon Franklin, Head of the School of Arts and Humanities, a packed day included presentations organised around each of the Initiative’s five current interdisciplinary research themes: Language Communication and Comprehension, Language Learning across the Lifespan, Human Language Technologies, Cambridge English, and Language Change and Diversity.

Presentations from the conference will be posted on the new language sciences website later this week. The site also has a Research Directory and more information about the Initiative and its research themes.

Jane Walsh, Coordinator for the Language Sciences Initiative, said “The excitement generated by the conference is very encouraging, but the big challenge will be to build on that initial enthusiasm. I’m in the process of collating all the feedback we received, which is very helpful. One of the ideas which we would like to act on as a priority is to work with graduate students to plan some networking events for early career researchers at the start of the next academic year. If anyone has any ideas or suggestions about this, or anything else to do with the Initiative, they can contact me via the website.”

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