IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


IOE Director elected as a fellow of the British Academy

23 July 2021

Professor Li Wei, Director and Dean of UCL Institute of Education (IOE) has been elected as a Fellow of the British Academy.

Professor Li Wei in front of the dark IOE building. Photo by John Cobb for UCL Institute of Education

Professor Li Wei was one of 84 Fellows who were elected for their outstanding achievements in the humanities and social sciences. The announcement comes following Professor Li Wei’s election to the Academia Europaea in June.

Founded in 1902, the British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. It is a Fellowship of over 1,400 of the leading minds in these subjects from the UK and overseas.

Also elected to the British Academy was former IOE Director Professor Becky Francis, who is currently Chief Executive Officer of the Education Endowment Foundation and Professor of Education at the IOE.

Professor Li Wei is a world-leading scholar in the interdisciplinary field of applied linguistics. His work focuses on language contact, bilingualism and multilingualism, including language development and disorder of bilingual children, the interactional architecture and cognitive processes of language switching and mixing, effects of early bilingual experience on brain development and cognitive functions, cognitive and cross-curriculum benefits of language learning, education of bilingual children, language socialisation and inter-generational communication.

Professor Li Wei has led numerous research projects funded by ESRC, AHRC, British Academy, Leverhulme and Nuffield, as well international funding agencies. He has published widely, and won the British Association of Applied Linguistics Book Prize twice. He was Chair of the University Council of General and Applied Linguistics (UCGAL) between 2012 and 2015 and is currently Editor of the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and Applied Linguistics Review. Professor Li Wei has been elected to both the Linguistics and Philology and the Education sections of the British Academy. He is already a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and a Member of Academia Europaea. On 29 March 2021, Professor Li Wei was named Director and Dean of the IOE, he began in post on 1 July.

Speaking about the Fellowship, Professor Li Wei said: "This is a great honour. Looking at the fellowship list, I am humbled to be in such a distinguished company. I will be using the opportunity to work with other colleagues to defend the value of humanities and social sciences in higher education and the wider society."

In addition to Professor Li Wei, four other UCL academics were elected as Fellows: 

  • Professor Susanne Kord (School of European Languages, Culture and Society)
  • Professor Susan Michie (Division of Psychology & Language Sciences)
  • Professor Andrew Steptoe (Faculty of Population Health Sciences)
  • Professor Sacha Stern (UCL Hebrew & Jewish Studies).



John Cobb for UCL Institute of Education