UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Keir Starmer Congratulates World-Leading Research Centre on 15th Anniversary

8 November 2021

The Leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has sent his warm congratulations in a video message to all the staff and students at University College London's award-winning centre for Deaf research on reaching a momentous milestone.

logo for deafness cognition and language centre

As the local constituency Member of Parliament, Sir Keir recognised the continued growth of the Deafness, Cognition and Language Research Centre (DCAL) and celebrated its fifteen years of ‘innovative’ and ‘life-changing’ research.

Since 2006, DCAL has brought together a multidisciplinary team of leading deaf and hearing researchers in the fields of sign linguistics, psychology and neuroscience, to explore language and cognition based on deaf people's communication. Its research over the last fifteen years has covered a wide range of topics, from exploration of the deaf brain to British Sign Language linguistics; from the analysis of language development in deaf children, through to the psychology of deafness. It is the largest research centre in its field in Europe. As well as making outstanding scientific discoveries, its work has influenced educational and clinical practice.

As DCAL prepares to celebrate its anniversary, it has organised a series of free online events to allow the centre to showcase its ground-breaking research to people all over the world.

The Director of the Centre is Professor Mairéad MacSweeney. She believes the Centre's success has been due to - the dedication and talent of its staff and students, support from the deaf community, the funding support it has received from the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the fact that DCAL has placed deaf people’s language and experience at the very centre of its research goals.

Commenting on the milestone, Prof. MacSweeney, said: 

"I’m delighted that UCL has received the recognition of our local MP, Sir Keir Starmer, and I welcome his warm words of support and congratulations for DCAL’s fifteen years of research excellence.

“At DCAL, our fifteen years of research efforts have demonstrated the unique perspective on language, cognition and the brain that can be gained from working with deaf people. Over that time, public respect for deaf people and signed languages has also increased enormously.

"DCAL's 15th anniversary has provided us with an opportunity to look back with pride at our work and see what we have achieved: ground-breaking internationally recognised research publications, the development of language and cognitive assessments for deaf children and adults, a national NHS clinic for deaf adults with memory problems, BSL Signbank, and an array of award-winning public engagement and widening participation activities.

"This is a wonderful milestone for DCAL to reach and I would like to sincerely thank ESRC, UCL, DCAL past and present staff and students, and all research volunteers - all of whom have played a part in the Centre's extraordinary success."

To mark its 15th anniversary, DCAL are holding a series of free online events from 9-11 November entitled, The Legacy of DCAL - A celebration of 15 years of research excellence. Tickets can be booked through Eventbrite.

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