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Language Sciences Research Incubator Fund

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A small projects fund to foster innovative and interdisciplinary research in the language sciences

The call for proposal is currently closed. Next date to be announced.



Since the Incubator Fund grant, we've been contacted by the Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies, University of Wales to collaborate on a related project using the techniques we've developed

Dr David Willis, Theoretical and Applied Linguistics ("Towards a parsed corpus of historical Welsh", 2016-17 award)


Proposals are evaluated by a review panel. Priority will be given to those which

  • Promote interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration
  • Address emerging themes
  • Develop novel methodological approaches or tools
  • Be likely to lead to the development of further research grant proposals.


  • Applicants must be full members of the University of Cambridge for the duration of the project.
  • Each proposal should be submitted by co-applicants from at least 2 different research groups.
  • Postdoctoral researchers are eligible in principle, but should check with their department. Applications should include a supporting letter from your research supervisor (where applicable).
  • Travel costs and workshops/events will not be funded under this scheme.


  • Projects must be completed within 6 months of notification of the award.
  • A brief report must be completed within 9 months of notification of the award
  • Successful applicants will be required to present their research at the next Language Sciences Annual Symposium following completion of their project.
  • Financial support from Cambridge Language Sciences and the Isaac Newton Trust should be acknowledged in any outputs from a grant under this scheme.

NOTE: Employment of research assistants usually needs to be done through TES. Please seek HR advice before including personnel costs as part of a proposal.


A total of £30,210 has been awarded to the following projects.

Awards in 2017-18

Multilingualism and subjective wellbeing in the family: a systematic review Dr Napoleon Katsos (Linguistics), Dr Jenny Gibson (Education) An interdisciplinary, qualitative systematic review of the literature on wellbeing in multilingual families, addressing the question: what effect does being a multilingual family have on family subjective wellbeing? 

A personalised literacy and numeracy teaching app for mobile devices Dr Andrew Caines (Linguistics/ALTA); Dr Paula Buttery, Russell Moore, Dr Andrew Rice (Computer Science & Technology); Prof. Ianthi Tsimpli (Linguistics) The development of an app to support the teaching of verbal reasoning, problem solving, and English literacy to school-age second-language learners.

Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Speech Comprehension: the challenge of Turkish Prof. William Marslen-Wilson (Psychology, Centre for Speech, Language, and the Brain), Dr Olaf Hauk (Psychology, MRC-CBU) Research to gather pilot data on Turkish for a proposed project on the real-time dynamics of spoken language comprehension.

A collaborative game-based approach to documenting linguistic variation in Brazil  Dr Ioanna Sitaridou (Spanish & Portuguese), Dr Paula Buttery (Computer Science & Technology), Dr Andrew Caines (Linguistics/ALTA), A crowd-sourcing project to document linguistic diversity in Brazil through the development of a computer Game With A Purpose (GWAP)

Awards in 2016-17

Preliminary data are novel and very promising, showing that bilingualism modulates the neural mechanisms for selective attention. […] The first manuscript based on this data set is currently under review and the second one is in preparation.

Dr Mirjana Bozic, Dept. of Psychology ("Neural correlates of selective attention in bilingualism", 2016-17 award)

Neural correlates of selective attention in bilingualism Dr Mirjana Bozic, Andrea Olguin, Dr Tristan Bekinschtein (Psychology); Dr Napoleon Katsos (Linguistics) A project to investigate whether being bilingual affects a listener’s ability to attend to speech in noisy environments, and  (if so) to explore the factors supporting this phenomenon. 

Crowdsourcing an error-annotated corpus of spoken learner English Dr Andrew Caines  (Linguistics) & Dr Marek Rei (Computer Laboratory). The creation of the first error-annotated corpus of spoken learner English will be an open-access resource which allows for multiple future experiments for different research groups within language sciences.

Towards a parsed corpus of historical Welsh Dr David Willis (Linguistics), Dr Sheila Watts (German & Dutch), Prof. Paul Russell (Anglo-Saxon, Norse & Celtic) Corpus development and research to lay the groundwork for a grant application. 

The relationship between vision and reading in global and local language processing Dr Elaine Schmidt, Dr Luca Cilibrasi, Dr Ana Pérez, Prof. Ianthi Tsimpli (Linguistics); Dr Andrew Welchman, Prof. Zoe Kourtzi (Psychology). This project aims to determine whether reading is influenced by visual processing abilities which are unrelated to language. 

Historical codeswitching and language mutability in the history of English Dr Laura Wright (English) & Professor Ian Roberts (Linguistics). Annotation of mixed-language Medieval Latin/Anglo-Norman French/Middle English business writing as a precursor to future research on language mutability in medieval English, and its significance in the development of modern English.

Multisensory semantic integration in inferential comprehension Dr Ana Pérez, Dr Elaine Schmidt, Dr Luca Cilibarasi, Prof. Ianthi Tsimpli (Linguistics); Dr Andrew Welchman, Prof. Zoe Kourtzi (Psychology). A project to study whether the integration of information across different sensory modalities facilitates and/or interferes with the comprehension of inferential information in monolingual adults.

Multi-word expressions in spoken learner English Dr Paula Buttery (Computer Lab) & Dr Andrew Caines (Linguistics). This project will bring together several existing resources in order to produce an analysis of multi-word expressions in spoken learner English.

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