Each year a small number of outstanding researchers are identified as Future Leaders in their field, and funded by highly-prestigious grants from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The Future Leaders Fellowship scheme aims to develop the most talented early career researchers and innovators, forming ‘the next wave of world-class research and innovation leaders in academia’.

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Rowena Kasprowicz (Lecturer in Second Language Education, University of Reading) has been awarded one of these prestigious Fellowships. With funding of over £1 million, her research project aims to provide, for the first time, a full and detailed picture of how foreign language knowledge develops in young learners in an instructed setting. It will involve a 4-year longitudinal study examining language learning throughout Key Stage 2 (ages 7 to 11) in primary schools in England. The project is supported by the Association for Language Learning, the National Centre for Excellence in Languages Pedagogy, and the Research in Primary Languages Network.


“I am thrilled and honoured to have won this Fellowship. This funding will allow me to spend the next four years working with schools, teachers, pupils, and professional bodies to explore language learning in primary schools in-depth. It is fantastic to be given the opportunity to shine a light on language learning in primary school and I hope that this work will provide much-needed research evidence that will support primary schools’ delivery of the languages curriculum, help to identify clear learning outcomes for primary languages, and feed forward to inform secondary schools’ curriculum planning for new starters.”, said Dr. Kasprowicz.

Prof. Adrian Bell, the Research Dean for the University of Reading’s Prosperity and Resilience research theme, commented that: “The UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship supports the most promising research leaders in the country to pursue their innovative research.  That is why we are so proud of Rowena who has been recognised through this scheme. This is a key award for the University of Reading, its Prosperity and Resilience research theme and the Institute of Education. We are all looking forward to supporting Rowena and learning from the research into early foreign language acquisition.”

On behalf of the Institute of Education and the wider University of Reading, well done and many congratulations to Dr. Kasprowicz!

You can find more about her research interests here. She tweets at @R_E_Kasprowicz.