Public Release: 

£6.2 million funding for research into how children learn to communicate with language

The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) has been awarded £6.2 million for a further 5 years

Lancaster University

The ESRC International Centre for Language and Communicative Development (LuCiD) has been awarded £6.2M for a further five years.

LuCiD is a five year research collaboration working with partners from across the world to transform our understanding of how children learn to communicate with language.

The LuCiD team includes over 40 researchers and 7 PhD students from Lancaster University, the University of Liverpool and the University of Manchester investigating key research questions about language development. They are supported by colleagues from international partners in Europe, the US and Australia.

Professor Padraic Monaghan of Lancaster University's Department of Psychology said: "This will enable us to continue our transformative research on how children learn to communicatetalk, and deliver the scientific evidence needed to design effective interventions in early years education and healthcare."

The next phase of the Centre will look at why some children develop language problems, and explore why differences between children and differences in their homes and community environments affect how they learn to communicate.

The Centre will also conduct new research on the relation between oral language development during the preschool years and the transition to literacy in the early school years.

In particular, LuCiD will focus on solving three key problems:

  • how do we monitor children's language and accurately identify those at risk of language delay
  • how do we train practitioners to provide children with a language-rich environment
  • how do we ensure that the intervention programmes used to boost children's language are based on a secure evidence-base that ensures they work

This next phase of the Centre will be led by Prof Julian Pine (University of Liverpool), Gert Westermann (Lancaster University), and Anna Theakston (University of Manchester).

The ESRC funding is part of a new initiative to provide follow-on 'centres transition funding' to existing centres to ensure they can continue pioneering social science research and maximise opportunities to translate their research into policy and practice.


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