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Cambridge Language Sciences

Interdisciplinary Research Centre
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We are delighted to announce that two new projects have been awarded seed funding through the Language Sciences Incubator Fund.

The successful applicants from the latest call were announced on 22 August 2022.

We would like to congratulate all concerned and thank the reviewers for generously giving their time to evaluate the proposals. Many thanks also to the Isaac Newton Trust who provided the matched funding for this round.

Posters on the funded research will be presented at future Cambridge Language Sciences Symposium events and we hope to feature more information about these projects on the Language Sciences website in due course.

DeliData Annotation: Understanding Argument Transactions

Dr. Andreas Vlachos (Dept. Computer Science & Technology), Mr. Georgi Karadzhov (Dept. Computer Science & Technology), Dr. Tom Stafford (Dept. of Psychology, University of Sheffield)

This project builds on a previous Incubator Fund project, ‘DeliData: Deliberation Enhancing Data’. In this, the team created DeliData, the first publicly available corpus of small-group problem-solving dialogues, to facilitate the development of dialogue systems interacting with a group of humans solving a task. 

The aim now is to annotate DeliData so it can be used to analyse the process of group deliberation and understand how to enhance it. The hope is that this will further help the development of Deliberation Enhancing Bots (DeliBots) – a kind of ‘chatbot’ which can improve an online groups’ deliberation by asking probing questions or moderating group dynamics.

•    See paper by Karadzhov et al., What makes you change your mind? An empirical investigation in online group decision-making conversations
•    Listen to Tom Stafford podcast, How to create better online environments in which arguing and deliberation is more likely to change people’s minds 
•    View poster on Cambridge Open Engage: A Dataset for Multi-party Collaboration

DeliData research has also fed into the EPSRC-funded project Opening Up Minds: engaging dialogue generated from argument maps.

Collecting a Corpus of Metaphor Meanings

Prof Simone Teufel (Dept. Computer Science & Technology), Prof Francis Bond (Dept. of Asian Studies, Palacký University Olomouc), Rowan Hall Maudslay (Dept. Computer Science & Technology)

This is a new collaboration between two computer scientists, Simone Teufel and Rowan Hall Maudslay, and Professor of Asian Studies, Francis Bond

The aim of this project is to create a new and unique dataset of metaphors linked to their meanings. 

The corpus will make it possible to study metaphor comprehension computationally for the first time. Existing corpora which provide labels on tokens to indicate metaphoricity, do not reveal metaphors’ meanings, and so cannot be used to study metaphor meaning.

It will also be a useful resource in NLP work (e.g. Machine Translation), since metaphors are frequent and represent a large obstacle to text understanding. 

In addition to annotation in English, there will be a feasibility study for Japanese. The hope is that this could be a promising foundation for a study of inter-cultural metaphor differences.

About the Incubator Fund

The Incubator Fund is a small grants fund designed to foster innovative interdisciplinary research in the language sciences. It was established by Cambridge Language Sciences with additional funding from the Isaac Newton Trust, Cambridge University Press & Assessment, and the School of Technology.

As well as the opportunity to develop new ideas, collaborations and approaches, Incubator Fund projects can provide proof of concept or evidence of collaboration for larger grant applications. Other positive outcomes include knowledge exchange studentships, publications, fellowships and further career opportunities for researchers involved.

Since the Incubator Fund was established in 2016, over £103,000 of seed funding has been awarded across 39 projects.

We hope to open the next call for proposals in Autumn 2022.

Please visit the Incubator Fund page for more information where you will also find a full list of previous Incubator Fund projects.

What we do

Cambridge Language Sciences is an Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. Our virtual network connects researchers from five schools across the university as well as other world-leading research institutions. Our aim is to strengthen research collaborations and knowledge transfer across disciplines in order to address large-scale multi-disciplinary research challenges relating to language research.