MEDAL stands for Methodological Excellence in Data-Driven Approaches to Linguistics and is a 3-year project. The MEDAL project is funded by the European Commission’s Twinning scheme: Twinning (  This is a part of the EC’s Horizon grant, Grant agreement ID: 101079429

The Twinning scheme's primary goal is to partner research institutes in European countries to advance its peers – so-called widening countries – by twinning them with well-established research institutes. This aims to increase the visibility of the widening country internationally and increase its access to resources. This will also create collaborations and a network of scientists between the partner countries. This kind of partnership is known as a consortium.


In the case of the MEDAL project, the widening country is Estonia, and the partner institute there is the University of Tartu. The Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics at the University of Tartu leads this project and is partnered with the University of Birmingham in the UK, the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics (MPI), and Radboud University in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


As the acronym suggests, MEDAL has a particular emphasis on methods used in linguistic research and specifically on ones in which the data drives the development of the theory. As the field of linguistics is changing with the availability of new technology, we want to bring attention to the variety of methods one can use and their interdisciplinarity. For example, while linguistics is traditionally placed within the humanities, many current research topics have more in common with social sciences, computer science and biology. In this project, we highlight three empirical methods for linguistic research: experiments, corpus studies and computational linguistics, as each partner has expertise related to these fields. [Here are some examples of recent research done by partner scholars]. The partner institutes will organise exchange visits for scholars and conduct collaborative research. These collaborations will also be explicitly empowering for early-career researchers.


Besides increasing the visibility of the variety of linguistic methods, we also aim to increase the availability of resources for data from under-studied languages. Studying and preserving under-studied languages is crucial, as it both empowers the communities where these languages are spoken and also strengthens linguistic theory by broadening our knowledge and gaining insights that these languages can offer us.


Thus, the MEDAL project will increase the methodological knowledge of all partners, spread awareness of linguistics to all audiences and increase the visibility of under-studied languages. This will be achieved in several ways, for example, we provide funding for mobility, organise summer schools on linguistic methods, and diffuse research results to academics and general audiences. In addition, we will have a collaborative research project, Generalizing over Language Data (GoLD), that will bring everyone’s expertise together.


At the end of our project, in 2025, Tartu will become an internationally recognised hub for linguistic research! Stay tuned for more!


The recording of the MEDAL launch event can be viewed: here.

Read more about MEDAL on Research in Estonia.

General contact: and join the MEDAL mailing list: here