Spin-out promotes benefits of language learning
More people around the world are set to be supported and encouraged to speak more than one language thanks to the success of an Edinburgh initiative.
A new social enterprise – Bilingualism Matters – has launched to conduct research and outreach projects focusing on multilingual education.
The company has spun out from the University of Edinburgh following the success of Bilingualism Matters, a research and information service for bilingualism and language learning which was established in 2008.
Bilingualism Matters became a University centre in 2014 and established 30 Bilingualism Matters centres in three continents.
The new University spin-out will share ground-breaking research and activities promoting multilingualism to wider society, the founders say.
The social enterprise Bilingualism Matters has been created to develop international audiences and build a global membership.
Services offered to members will include events, talks, training, and resources. They will be available to children, parents, community groups, businesses and professionals from the public and private sector – in the UK and abroad.
The social enterprise will also offer bespoke research in collaboration with its university partners and consultancy services to stakeholders such as local and national governments and non-governmental organisations.
Edinburgh Innovations - the University of Edinburgh’s commercialisation service – has supported the researchers in launching the company.
Bilingualism Matters@ Edinburgh, the University centre from which the social enterprise spun out, based in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences will continue to serve as a branch of Bilingualism Matters with a focus on academic research and dissemination, as well as continuing to offer advice and events on the benefits of language learning.
Some of the ground-breaking research from the Edinburgh team has included showing how speaking a second language improves school performance, thinking skills and mental agility in later life.
Bilingualism Matters currently has 30 branches – with a presence in Canada, China, Croatia, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, and United States.
The branches will become part of the Bilingualism Matters social enterprise and will continue their work with community groups, schools, health workers, policy makers and other stakeholders.
As the Founding Director of Bilingualism Matters, I’m delighted that after 14 years of continuous growth we are now spinning out from the University of Edinburgh as an independent not-for-profit organisation. This development will allow us to strengthen the links among our national and international partners and form new collaborations, within our overall mission of bridging research and society and promoting multilingualism in any languages.
The spin-out launched at a virtual opening event at the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
The launch includes a roundtable exchange with international researchers and professionals from the education and health sector sharing their experiences in the field of multilingualism.
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