Earlier this year, TIRF furthered its partnership with the British Council by establishing the TIRF-British Council Research Mentoring Awards (RMAs). In this post, we share news about this new award program and announce the inaugural recipients.

The RMAs are designed to support new researchers and improve the quality of research undertaken by students in doctoral programs within the field of English language education on issues of mutual interest to TIRF and the British Council. The awards are offered to doctoral students in more than 60 countries from four different geographic regions around the world: Africa, Latin America, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. For further background information about the awards and the program’s key features, click here.

We are pleased to announce the first five recipients of the RMAs. Their names, bio statements, home countries, dissertation titles, and the TIRF Research Topics investigated, follow here.

2023 TIRF British Council RMA Recipients

Name & Bio: Chekwube Chiebonam Mbegbu is a Ph.D. student of English Language Education at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Her research interests include pedagogy and issues in language education. Her current research seeks to determine the extent of use of the Igbo language at home and in schools and the ways of promoting the use of this endangered indigenous language in Southeast Nigeria.
Home Country: Nigeria
Dissertation Title: Assessment of Use of Igbo Language in Southeast Nigeria
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Research on Revitalization of Endangered Indigenous Languages
Name & Bio: Fatma Mohamed Zoghlof is an Assistant Lecturer of English Literature at the Department of English Language and Literature, Faculty of Women, Ain Shams University, and she is a doctoral student at the same university. Fatma has presented several papers at the American University in Cairo, Nile TESOL, and Al Azhar University. She was part of the HOPES project held by the British Council and the European Union to support Syrian refugees in Egypt from 2017 to 2019. Her research is concerned with critiquing Western-biased ELT materials, addressing Eurocentrism, and promoting diverse cultural integration for enhanced student engagement. Fatma’s research contributes to decolonization since it highlights the limitations of Western-centric content in comprehensive language and culture understanding.
Home Country: Egypt
Dissertation Title: Decolonizing English Language Teaching: A Critique of Biased EFL Instructional Resources
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Language Planning & Policy
Name & Bio: Francisco Matus Alarcón is a doctoral student at Universidad of Concepción. He holds a master’s degree from Universidad de Santiago de Chile. Francisco works as a full-time ELT professor at Universidad de las Américas in Chile. His current mixed-methods quantitative and qualitative research study focuses on teacher trainees’ pragma-linguistic development in English and the role of avatars assisted by AI to support this process.
Home Country: Chile
Dissertation Title: Effects of an Avatar Assisted by Artificial Intelligence on Pragmatic Development in EFL Teacher Training Programs in Chile
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: Digital Technology in Language Education
Name & Bio: Ignatius Ambe Akonwah is a Ph.D. student in English Language at the University of Bamenda. He has been teaching in several secondary and high schools in Cameroon, and gives part-time lectures in the University of Bamenda. His research investigates how the rich multitude of languages in Cameroon can be exploited to the advantage of Cameroonians and how translanguaging could preserve equity between English and local languages.
Home Country: Cameroon
Dissertation Title: English Language in a Multilingual Context: Unwrapping the Multilingual Enigma in Cameroon
TIRF Research Topics Investigated: (1) Research on Revitalization of Endangered Indigenous Languages; (2) Language Planning & Policy
Name & Bio: Manal Bouchikhi is an Applied Linguistics Ph.D. student at University Ahmed Draia, Adrar, Algeria. Her research focuses on the adoption of English-medium instruction in higher education in Algeria. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in Linguistics and Didactics from Ahmed Draia-Adrar University. With more than five years of teaching experience, Manal has been dedicated to instructing English language learners at various proficiency levels.
Home Country: Algeria
Dissertation Title: An Educational Equity Perspective on English-Medium of Instruction Adoption in Algerian Universities: Cultivating Global Inclusivity or Constraining Classroom Engagement?
TIRF Research Topic Investigated: English as a Medium of Instruction

TIRF hopes to continue to offer the RMA programs next year and beyond. Please continue to follow our updates by signing up for our newsletter if you have not already done so.

Please join us in congratulating the TIRF-British Council Research Mentoring Award recipients!