UCL News


Funding for new deafness centre

17 October 2005

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) has announced a £4.

5million grant to establish a major new research centre at UCL.

The Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL), based at UCL Human Communication Science, will bring together leading figures in the fields of linguistics, psychology and neuroscience. The interdisciplinary nature of the centre will foster collaboration between disciplines and other research institutes.

Professor Bencie Woll (UCL Human Communication Science), a renowned expert in sign language and deaf studies, will direct the centre which will also involve deputy director Professor Ruth Campbell (UCL HCS), and co-directors Professor Gabriella Vigliocco (UCL Psychology) and Dr Gary Morgan (City University).

The centre will provide a focus for deafness research studies, comprising a series of thematically linked research themes, including the linguistics of British Sign Language, signed and spoken language processing, face-to-face communication, language development in deaf children, atypical sign language and the deaf individual and the community.

Both hearing and deaf researchers will be working together, which will create a unique working environment with both English and British Sign Language as the languages of communication. DCAL will also work with a range of clinical, scientific and educational collaborators and colleagues - enabling the centre's productivity to have an immediate scientific, clinical and social impact.

Professor Woll said: "The creation of DCAL places research with deaf people at the core of linguistic and psychological research. We will create new tools for assessing sign language development, describe the role of the face and gesture in language, and develop our understanding of how language is processed by the brain. By studying deaf people's language, we will be able to illuminate all aspects of human communication."

DCAL will be launched in January 2006 and over the first five years will establish a team of 20-25 researchers, research students and support staff.