Funding call: Artificial Intelligence in the World of Languages

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Digital advances are revolutionising our linguistic landscape, our possibilities of communication, the interaction between languages and our very identities as human beings:

  • Traditional connections between local communities and indigenous languages are increasingly under pressure not just because of migration and industrialisation, but also owing to the digital dominance of global English.
  • Language apps and other forms of language automation are increasingly impacting on language teaching, language learning and learner motivation.
  • Machine translation has become increasingly efficient in the world of everyday and specialist communication.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is calling into question many fundamental assumptions about the uniqueness of human communication as the automation of speech and voice recognition opens up radically new options for dissociating languages from human individuals.

Creative Multilingualism is investigating the interplay between linguistic diversity and creativity. This call invites applications for funding of projects that explore the role of creativity in the increasing involvement of AI in the world of languages. If the application is from a university, that university cannot be part of an OWRI consortium

Creative Multilingualism is a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research programme funded by the AHRC under its Open World Research Initiative (OWRI). Seven interlocking research strands investigate the creative dimension of languages and linguistic diversity – extending from cognition, naming and intelligibility through performance, texts and translation to language learning. Full details of the programme, the consortium of universities, the range of partners, and the programme’s aims and activities can be found at For further information about OWRI see

We're interested in projects which link to the following themes:

1. Artificial Intelligence and Linguistic Diversity

Creative Multilingualism’s mission is to explore the creative potential of linguistic diversity, and to make that diversity more visible and valued. Applications are invited for projects that investigate how AI can contribute to this mission.

2. Artificial Intelligence, Languages and Schools

Applications are invited for projects that investigate how AI is being used in schools, for example in language teaching or in multilingual creative writing. Projects should complement the work of Creative Multilingualism’s strand 7: Language Learning or work done with schools by other parts of the programme, e.g. Multilingual Poetry in Schools and the Multilingual Performance Project.

3. Artificial Intelligence and Translation

The aim of developments in machine translation has typically been to improve communication.  But what about creativity? Is there a role for machine translation in supporting linguistic enjoyment, inventiveness and play? Can machine translation create new forms of language, and new ways of using them? Applications are invited for projects that explore creative uses of AI and translation.  The project should complement the work of Creative Multilingualism’s strand 6: Prismatic Translation.

4. The Creative Industries, Languages and Artificial Intelligence

Applications are invited for projects that investigate the interaction between linguistic creativity, AI, and the performing arts. We would particularly welcome proposals from artists, creatives, and those working across STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) at the intersection of languages and AI in and through the creative industries. Projects should connect productively with the work of Creative Multilingualism’s research strand 4: Languages in the Creative Economy, and/or the Multilingual Performance Project.


The maximum grant is £5,000 over the funding period. Applications for collaborative or individual projects are equally welcome under this scheme. Priority may be given to applications where there is some matching funding available but this is not essential.

How to Apply

  1. Complete the application form and submit it to by 30th April 2019.
  2. Successful applicants will be given the opportunity to attend the workshop Artificial Intelligence in the World of Languages in Pittsburgh, USA and take part in a roundtable. 

Level of grant: Awards up to £5,000. For successful applicants, the registration fee for the workshop Artificial Intelligence in the World of Languages will be waived and they will be able to apply for a (modest) travel bursary.

Download the application form.

Deadline for submission of applications: 30th April 2019 (5pm UK time)

Notification of final outcome expected: 24th May 2019

Pittsburgh Event: 5th September 2019

Earliest Start Date for research: 1st June 2019

Projects must be completed by: 31st March 2020

All applications should demonstrate that the funds are sought for a clearly defined, discrete project, which will have an identifiable outcome on completion. Projects are expected to result in an output, which may be in any medium. Payment of the grant will normally be made in three tranches, the second (mid-term) payment being subject to a review of satisfactory progress.

Applicants are required to nominate two referees and ensure that the supporting statement from their chosen referees is submitted to by the deadline for submission of applications.

Please note this deadline is final and we will not be able to take account of references submitted after this date. Your referees must be drawn from outside your own employing institution and from outside the employing institution of any co-applicants.

The competition will be run, and administered by, the Creative Multilingualism Steering Committee. Successful applications will conclude, upon award, with an agreement based on a University of Oxford template and subject to the University’s Standard Terms & Conditions of Purchase available at Applicants must also comply with the requirements in Appendix A. We regret that we are unable to provide feedback on any unsuccessful applications. For informal enquiries about this scheme, please contact

For further details and terms, please see the funding call FAQ.

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