Prof Wei LI

ROLE : Advisory member

Li Wei is Chair of Applied Linguistics and Director of the UCL Centre for Applied Linguistics, at the UCL Institute of Education, University College London (UCL), UK. He is also Director of the ESRC UBEL (UCL, Bloomsbury, East London) Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP). His research interests are in the broad areas of bilingualism and multilingualism, including language development and disorder of bilingual and multilingual children, social and cognitive processes of bilingual and multilingual practices, and bilingual education. His recent publications include Translanguaging: Language, bilingualism and education (with Ofelia Garcia, 2014) which won the 2015 British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL) Book Prize, The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Multi-Competence (with Vivian Cook, 2016), shorted for the 2017 BAAL Book Prize. He is Principal Editor of the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism and Applied Linguistics Review, and book series editor for Wiley-Blackwell’s Research Methods in Language and Linguistics. He previously served as an assessor on the Education sub-panel for REF2014, and a member of ESRC’s grant assessment panel for Psychology, Linguistics and Education. He was Chair of the University Council of General and Applied Linguistics, UK between 2002 and 2005. He is Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK.

What I'm Working On


Currently I am reviewing the changes of foreign language education policies in China since the founding of the People’s Republic – 2019 is the 70th anniversary of the founding of PRC, with a particular focus on the recent growth in EMI programmes. I am also looking at EMI and CLIL policies and practices in other Chinese-speaking areas including Hong Kong and Taiwan.

I am also leading two research projects: one to investigate the effects of early bilingual experience on brain structure and functions using the latest research technologies. This project is funded by the Leverhulme and is done in collaboration with colleagues in the UCL Great Ormond Street Hospital Institute of Child Health. The other project is funded by ESRC and is looking at family language policy, including changing patterns of language and literacy practices in the family, language choice in bilingual and multilingual families and how families respond to social and school policies. The project is a collaboration with colleagues at Birkbeck and Bath and the part that I am in charge of has a particular focus on the Somali families in London and the southeast of England.

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