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Cambridge University Hosts Mary Immaculate College IVACS Symposium

Mary Immaculate College Limerick has set up a vibrant international research network connecting leading researchers and PhD students in the field of Corpus Linguistics. This inter-institutional network is conducted through the IVACS (Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies) Research Centre. This year the IVACS annual research symposium was hosted by the Faculty of English at the University of Cambridge, with papers presented by researchers from Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, Leeds Metropolitan University, University of Leeds and University of Cambridge.

The IVACS Research Centre was formally established at Mary Immaculate College in 2002 as an inter-institutional research network between Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, University of Nottingham and Queen’s University Belfast. Since then, the network has extended to researchers in many other institutions, including the Universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds Metropolitan, Extramadura, Madrid, and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, among others. The network has grown strategically so as to broaden its expertise base through links with other key corpus-based researchers and research centres, especially in the UK.

Explaining the concept behind this initiative Dr. Anne O Keefe, founder of the network, said

“The area of Corpus Linguistics is a relatively new field. The corpora, being the datasets on which the research is based, are time-consuming and expensive to build. The IVACS network brought together many researchers who would otherwise work alone and with limited resources. The network has allowed us to build a community of practice which optimises resources and skills-sharing”.

Among the aims of the IVACS network is the production of international peer-reviewed research publications. The Centre has recently produced a special issue of the International Journal of Corpus Linguistics. It also places emphasis on the mentoring of postgraduate students through inter-institutional collaboration, whereby they benefit from methodology seminars across institutions as well as synergies gained through contact with PhD students in other institutions.

Commenting on the achievements of the IVACS Research Centre, Professor Michael Healy, Vice President for Research at Mary Immaculate College says, “The innovative and cutting edge work of Dr O’Keeffe and her research colleagues across the international IVACS network is making a major contribution to the study of modern language in everyday discourse. We are very proud of the IVACS Centre and what it has achieved to date, and look forward to continuing our support for the important work that the Centre will conduct in the coming years”.

The core institutions involved in this initiative are the Department of English Language and Literature at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick; Centre for Applied Language Studies, University of Limerick; School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences, Newcastle University; School of English, University of Nottingham; Faculty of English, University of Cambridge; English Language Teaching Unit, Carnegie Faculty, Leeds Metropolitan University; School of Education, Queen’s University Belfast and the Department of Curriculum Research & Development, The Moray House School of Education, University of Edinburgh.

The biennial IVACS International conference will be hosted by Leeds Metropolitan University, in June 2012.

Shanru Yang, Newcastle University PhD student, Dr Steve Walsh, Newcastle University, Dr Anne O’Keeffe, MIC and Tania Palma Fahey, MIC PhD student, at the January 2012 IVACS Symposium, hosted by Cambridge University.

Pictured at the recent Mary Immaculate College IVACS Symposium, hosted by the University of Cambridge were Dr Andrew Caines, University of Cambridge and Tania Palma Fahey, MIC PhD student.


Mary Immaculate College, South Circular Road, Limerick, Tel:+35361 204300  V94VN26

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