It took a consortium of three different organisations and some serious persuasion to secure the Routes into Languages programme's £4.5 million grant from the Higher Education Funding Council for England to bolster language study in the UK.
The programme, which is run by the national languages subject centre at Southampton University with the University Council of Modern Languages and the National Centre for Lan-guages, is made up of outreach work in schools and three research projects.
One project on community languages, and another on enterprise and languages - or what students ought to be doing as part of their degrees to make them more entrepreneurial - have already been funded.
In addition, the centre hopes to fund a further project on what role languages departments can play in preparing the UK for a big event such as the Olympics.
But a significant chunk of the money - £200,000 a year for three years - will go to winning bids from four groups of universities in different regions that will club together to tackle the declining popularity of languages in schools, which, in turn, impacts on the numbers applying to study languages at university.
Michael Kelly (pictured), director of the national language centre and Routes into Education, said: "Our hope is that these programmes will help increase the take up of languages across England.
"Languages has encountered its fair share of problems recently, but academics are not sitting idlly by and there are a lot of things going on.
"Routes into Languages is trying to build on that with a range of specific initiatives."
Liz Hudswell, subject centre manager, said: "Hefce has given us this money to try to address the decline in languages. We're following on the heels of chemistry, physics and mathematics but we've got more than they have."
If the consortium pilots work well, there is a possibility of more funding from Hefce, she added.
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