The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) – Utrecht University (UU) Joint Centre for Language, Mind and Brain (香港中文大學–荷蘭烏得勒支大學語言、認知及大腦聯合研究中心) aims to pursue three parallel focus areas of research, namely (1) the biological basis of language learning and development, (2) cognitive neuroscience and (3) speech-language therapy. The Joint Centre represents an innovative effort to synergize and combine the strengths in the named areas on CUHK and UU campuses.

Contribution of and the Need for the Joint Centre

The Joint Centre aims to create an international platform for advancing knowledge in the study of language, mind and brain. Anchored in linguistics as a focus area of research, the Joint Centre provides fertile soil to nurture a number of disciplines on CUHK campus with a shared interest in language structure, language learning, communicative and literacy disorders and cognitive neuroscience. A natural extension of this focus would involve reading acquisition and impairment in both adults and children as well. The Joint Centre is strongly interdisciplinary in its orientation, connecting the humanities with biomedical sciences, life sciences, and social science. In particular, the language learning and development theme at CUHK echoes and complements the Youth and Identity focus area at UU where youth covers the age range from infancy to adolescence and beyond.

The Joint Centre is designed to be an international hub to give linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, psychology, genetics and speech-language therapy prominence and impetus to achieve excellence in the international academic community. It will also provide a bridge between the Western world and Mainland China.

A key component of the Joint Centre is a Genetic Core housed in the CUHK School of Biomedical Sciences in the Faculty of Medicine which supports cross-faculty and interdisciplinary collaboration in genetic research related to language, mind and brain, fostering academic exchanges on and between the two campuses. CUHK has pioneered clinical prenatal genetics service and our Fetal Medicine Unit is the first and a world-leading clinic that has established microarray for prenatal and postnatal genetics diagnosis of microdeletion and microduplication syndromes including Autism and Epilepsy.