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UK to join major European language research infrastructure

Date: 15/09/2015

The UK is set to join a major research infrastructure that will enable UK arts and humanities researchers working with language data and in linguistics to access data collections, repositories, tools and networks of expertise across Europe. The new development, which sees the AHRC join the CLARIN European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) as an observer on behalf of the UK, will mean representation both in the CLARIN General Assembly and opportunities to participate in a number of working groups and projects.

Set up in 2008 with initial funding from the European Commission, CLARIN is one of the initiatives on the Roadmap of the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI), which includes pan-European facilities, resources and services across the academic disciplines. CLARIN is a distributed data infrastructure with sites – typically, universities, research institutions, libraries and public archives - all over Europe, governed and coordinated by a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) of sixteen EU countries - with others soon to join. It inks communities of researchers using language resources and tools to undertake new forms of digital research in the humanities and social sciences.

Martin Wynne, University of Oxford and a director of CLARIN, leads CLARIN-UK, the consortium of UK researchers creating, sharing and using language resources and analysis tools. He said: Joining CLARIN will provide opportunities for us to share our language collections, online interfaces and tools more effectively with researchers across Europe. It will also ensure access for UK researchers to the growing wealth of resources curated by CLARIN, and allow us to participate in a number of exciting new cross-border research initiatives.

Franciska de Jong, Executive Director of CLARIN ERIC, said: With the UK entering the CLARIN consortium as a member we welcome one the founding countries for the field of the Digital Humanities. Having the UK within our network means not only that we will be able to include a huge number of digital resources and tools that have been developed for the English language over the past decades in our infrastructure, but also that CLARIN can benefit from the expertise of a strong network of scholars with roots in both the pioneering stages of the digital turn in the humanities, and the more recent data-driven innovations in the analysis and study of language materials.

Professor Mark Llewellyn, Director of Research at the AHRC, said: The AHRC's increased engagement with the CLARIN initiative is an important development, not only for researchers in languages and linguistics in the UK but also for the potential links to the AHRC's priorities. Our research themes Digital Transformations and Translating Cultures alongside our work supporting arts and humanities researchers' increased engagement with the use of Big Data, particularly through international collaborations, are closely aligned with the aims of CLARIN. We look forward to the development of these links and networks in the coming years.

For further information, please contact Martin Wynne via email martin.wynne@it.ox.ac.uk

Notes for Editors

  • The Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) funds world-class, independent researchers in a wide range of subjects: ancient history, modern dance, archaeology, digital content, philosophy, English literature, design, the creative and performing arts, and much more. This financial year the AHRC will spend approximately £98m to fund research and postgraduate training in collaboration with a number of partners. The quality and range of research supported by this investment of public funds not only provides social and cultural benefits but also contributes to the economic success of the UK.


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