UCLouvain and KU Leuven, both originating of the old University of Louvain, founded in 1425, are one of Europe’s most well-established universities.

The French-speaking university welcomes more than 30,000 students in seven locations in Brussels and Wallonia. Its main campus is in the pedestrianised city of Louvain-la-Neuve. UCLouvain, in the framework of its Louvain 2020 strategic project, commits to making sustainable development a priority among others in promoting a digital university fostering the creation, dissemination and acquisition of knowledge and skills. Open education, open publication and open source have been at the heart of UCL’s priorities for a few years already. The Faculty of Philosophy, Arts and Letters has a large department of Modern Languages and Literatures and also hosts several renowned research centres like the CECL (Centre for English Corpus Linguistics) and the CENTAL (Centre de traitement automatique du langage) which are involved in several research projects addressing CALL in its different guises.

The Centre for English Corpus Linguistics (CECL) specializes in the collection and use of corpora for linguistic and pedagogical purposes. Its main areas of focus are learner and multilingual corpora. At the end of the 1980s, the CECL pioneered the study of learner corpora with the International Corpus of Learner English (ICLE). A truly international enterprise, ICLE contributed to the integration of corpora in language acquisition studies and to their use in various applications ranging from language teaching to natural language processing.

The CECL has always been keen to link theoretical notions, whether from cognitive linguistics, psycholinguistics or contrastive linguistics, to their pedagogical applications. Its research has therefore the two-fold goal of providing a solid empirical basis for language acquisition and contrastive studies and grounding applied studies in a robust theoretical framework.

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The Center for Natural Language Processing (CENTAL) is a computing centre attached to the Language & Communication Institute (IL&C) and specialized in the study of computational linguistics, a discipline that was brought to the eyes of the public through commercial applications such as spell-checking, speech recognition, machine translation, information retrieval, etc. As a university centre, the CENTAL is involved in both research and teaching activities. It also collaborates on projects from several research centres by offering its experience in text data processing. 

When it comes to advancing the area of intelligent CALL, researchers at the CENTAL have also shown a strong interest in the integration of natural language processing in educational technology and language learning (e.g., automated essay scoring, readability assessment, automatic text simplification, chatbots, development of educational machine-readable resources, etc.).

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The Dutch-speaking university is ranked among the top 50 universities worldwide and welcomes more than 58,000 students in several locations in Flanders and Brussels. Its main campus is located in the historical city of Leuven. KU Leuven is currently Europe’s most innovative university according to Thomson Reuters. The Faculty of Arts hosts a number of research groups active in the field of Computer-Assisted Language Learning, including the ITEC group, at the university’s campus of Kortrijk.

ITEC is an interdisciplinary research group of KU Leuven campus Kulak (Kortrijk) devoted to impactful digital innovation in education. The research group is affiliated with the faculty of Arts and the faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences, as well as with imec, Flanders’ high-tech research and innovation hub for nanoelectronics and digital technologies. At the time of writing, the team comprised about 35 researchers trained in the learning sciences (instructional design for educational effectiveness, statistical modelling), applied linguistics (language learning and natural language processing), and computer science (data mining and machine learning). ITEC has a strong tradition in CALL research. It also forges research collaborations with industrial partners in EdTech, like Barco and Televic.

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