Call for research proposals

The IELTS Partners invite educational institutions and suitably qualified individuals to apply for funding to undertake applied research projects in relation to the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Financial support for individual projects selected is limited to a maximum of £45,000/AU$80,000.  

IELTS joint-funded research programme 2021

30 June 2021 Deadline for applications
July/August 2021 Preliminary review of applications
October 2021 Evaluation and selection of successful applicants
November 2021  Applicants are notified of the Research Committee's decision 
January 2022 Research commences. Programmes can be one or two years in length
December 2022/23 Final reports due 

All applications received will be treated on a confidential basis. The decision of the review committee is final.

Proposals are welcomed from researchers and institutions with expertise in language learning and assessment research. Institutions/individuals are invited to submit a written application (maximum of 10 pages, unbound) in accordance with the format and content requirements, see guidelines for applying.

IELTS Research Areas of interest 2021

Test development and validation issues

Research in this area would include:

  • Studies on the essential language knowledge, skills, and abilities in domains where IELTS is used (e.g. for academic study, migration, employment)
  • Studies on IELTS General Training Reading and Writing tests
  • Studies on the Writing and Speaking features that distinguish IELTS proficiency levels

Test preparation practices

  • Studies on the impact of preparing for IELTS on various stakeholders
  • Studies on the relationship between test preparation strategies and test taker performance (including strategies designed to accommodate local student needs)
  • Studies on the challenges of test preparation taking place in imperfect settings or circumstances 
  • Studies investigating the impact of different kinds of preparation, including non-test-focused EAP study courses compared to test-focused preparation etc. 
  • Studies investigating the relationship between IELTS test preparation and language learning (including the development of skills for potential use beyond the test)

Issues relating to contexts of test use

  • Studies on the use of IELTS for purposes of academic study, migration, citizenship, professional registration, exit testing and employment
  • Studies on the use of IELTS and IELTS scores in specific local contexts
  • Studies to establish appropriate IELTS score levels in specific contexts

Issues of test impact

  • Studies on the attitudes and perceptions towards IELTS among users of test scores (e.g. test takers, teachers, admissions staff, etc.) 
  • Studies on the implications of Covid-19 for the context of use for IELTS test scores and test score users’ perceptions of IELTS test scores 
  • Studies investigating the uses of test scores to inform further learning and teaching by test score users 
  • Studies on the language assessment literacy of test score users and / or the effectiveness of approaches aiming to develop this
  • Studies on the role of interactive communication in IELTS Speaking or Writing tests and its impact on candidates’ preparedness for communication in training or study contexts
  • Studies on aspects of the social impact of IELTS test score use, test preparation etc

Issues of technology

  • Studies on the use of technology in test preparation, language education and assessment more broadly 
  • Studies on aspects of IELTS on computer
  • Studies on video call speaking 
  • Studies on different modes of delivery for the IELTS test
Application forms