Academic partners

An international team including 5 leading researchers and 4 high-profile universities will support the design and execution of EMMA. They will work jointly with the core team based at the University of Birmingham to ensure a high standard scientific debate, to promote the excellence of the academic exchange, and to enhance the academic and social impact of the project.



 Dr. Margaret Dowens (University of Nottingham-Ningbo)

Margaret Dowen is an Associate Professor at UNNC. Her research focuses on the areas of bilingualism, multilingualism and the effects of aging on language learning. She is currently involved in several collaborative projects with researchers in China and Europe investigating morphosyntax processing and visual word processing in language combinations including English, Spanish and Chinese. She uses both off-line behavioural measures such as accuracy and reaction times and on-line neuroimaging techniques such as Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to record and analyze the brain electrical activity of monolinguals and early and late bilinguals while they read or listen to sentences and words.

LOGO She brings to EMMA expertise on cognitive neuroscience, neurolinguistics/psycholinguistics, visual word processing, and event-related potential technology.



Prof. Francisco J. Ruiz de Mendoza (University of La Rioja)

Francisco José Ruiz de Mendoza Ibáñez works in cognitive linguistics, inferential pragmatics, and functional grammar. He began his university career in 1989 and has been a full professor of English Linguistics at the University of La Rioja since 1999. He has been the head of four research projects on these topics financed by the various Departments of Education and Science in Spain. He has also participated as an investigator in two other projects that deal with language acquisition, cognitive modeling, and the compilation of lexical databases for lexicography.

LOGO He brings to EMMA expertise on cognitive modeling, and cognitive operations with a special focus on metaphor-metonymy combinations. He will work jointly with the core team to strengthen the theoretical part of the project, which takes as a point of departure the inventory of patterns of interaction between metaphor and metonymy that he has been developing over the past two decades.

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Dr. Lorena Pérez (University of La Rioja)

Lorena Pérez works as a permanent lecturer at the University of La Rioja (Spain) since 2001. Her present research interests include aspects of cognitive and functional semantics. She has looked into issues of grammatical metaphor and metonymy from a cross-linguistic perspective. Simultaneously, she has also investigated the metaphorical grounding of modals in Spanish, French, English and Italian. Other interests include advertising and internet-related technology (websites and blogs design, audio and multimedia applications, online educational resources, the development of online educational materials, etc.). Additionally, she works as a cognitive consultant for Lexicon Branding (

LOGO She brings to EMMA expertise on image schemas, metonymy, metaphor, and pragmatic inferencing in branding, advertising, and multimedia environments. The project will additionally benefit from her more down-to-earth, skilled, and business-oriented analysis and consideration of the data, as she provides consultancy in the creation of new brand names from a cognitive-linguistic perspective.



Prof. Gerard Steen (University of Amsterdam, Director of the Metaphor Lab)

Gerard Steen is Professor of Language and Communication at the Department of Dutch at the University of Amsterdam. His main research interests focus on metaphor in discourse and the role of genre in discourse processing. He is the founding director of the Metaphor Lab Amsterdam (Sept 2010), an expertise centre for interdisciplinary metaphor studies across the humanities and the cognitive and social sciences. He also runs the Argumentation and Rhetoric program in the ACLC at UvA.

LOGO He brings to EMMA expertise on methodological aspects of verbal and visual metaphor identification. He was himself on a Marie Curie incoming researcher programme on metaphor and genre between 2011 and 2013 and obtained a Marie Curie grant for 2014-206 on verbal and visual metaphor.


Dr. Mariana Bolognesi (University of Amsterdam, Metaphor Lab)

Mariana Bolognesi currently works as a Marie Curie fellow on the “Cognitive Grounding of Visual Metaphor” project at The University of Amsterdam. She is the principal investigator and coordinator of the Metaphor Geeks Lab, for the analysis and interpretation of metaphors.  She also was the project coordinator of the VisMet Baby project and is the creator of the “VisMet Corpus: an annotated online corpus of visual metaphors.

LOGO She brings to EMMA training in visual metaphor identification, involving practice as well as theoretical issues. She is versed in various aspects of step-by-step metaphor identification in multimodal settings, and brings expertise on methodological aspects that will strengthen the reliability and validity of the analyses.

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