Linguistic Research Infrastructure

To promote linguistic research in Switzerland and move it to a higher, internationally competitive level, two inter-departmental institutions at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UZH, namely the Zurich Center for Linguistics (ZüKL) and the University Research Priority Program “Language and Space”, as well as a number of laboratories and several institutes distributed across the UZH campus, successfully applied for a substantial upgrade of the existing local linguistic infrastructure.

What LiRI will be

The new infrastructure LiRI, approved by the UZH board in October 2018, will, firstly, strengthen laboratory research in linguistics and neighboring areas, which has become central in the era of Digitization and Big Data in the study of language and speech, and will support data storage, data processing and analyses of the data with up-to-date data science support in an unprecedented way. Secondly, this upgrade will allow pioneering new research combining naturalistic data with rigorous methods that so far could only be applied in the lab. This will bring Switzerland to the forefront of experimental and Big Data-based linguistics research.

LiRI architecture

LiRI architecture
LiRI architecture

LiRI consists of two subunits: A laboratory structure for experimental research, equipped with a whole bundle of new data acquisition units mainly in phonetics, psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics, and a LiRI or Linguistic Information System, called LIS.

The collection of data acquisition units encompasses articulography, laryngography, several high-end isolated sound-proof cabins, stationary, portable and also head-mounted eye tracking systems, mobile and stationary EEG systems, ABR, NIRS, ultrasound, and later also an anechoic cabin.

Functions of the LiRI Information System - LIS

The main functions of the LiRI Information System will be:

  • to channel the large volume of data produced not only by the LiRI Data Acquisition Units, but also by data coming from academic institutions from outside UZH (working with language data and linguistic databases) into standardized, interoperable and open accessible resources (Data Management, with the help of a system administrator). Detailed access rules for partners will be set up as part of the LiRI rules of procedure as well as a set of minimal standards for the quality of hosted research data, digital assets, and metadata. All tools and data hosted by LiRI will be subject to the FAIR principles of Open Access. 
  • to support empirical research from data acquisition to publication (Data Science, with the help of specialists focused on data acquisition, data management and processing).


Within the implementation phase, it is planned to acquire several data acquisition devices (see list below), accessible for UZH-internal and also external users (in exchange for charges, see regularities for UZH Technology platforms, and also SNSF cost statement for using university infrastructure).

The LiRI devices and information system will be open to all researchers working with language data from UZH, but is conceived in its full form as a national platform for linguistic data storage/processing/science, uniting if possible as many linguistic data resources of all kinds (text, audio, video, EEG etc.) in one data center.

DAU List
Zoom (JPG, 71 KB)

Next steps

From the 1st July 2020 onwards, LiRI will be installed as technology platform with a certain range of services. A kick-off event is planned for fall 2020. Until December 2019 we worked out the rules of procedure for LiRI, including the price list for fees for local and external users of LiRI. On 11. October 2019 we organized an information event at UZH for all supporters and potential internal and external users to inform about the current state of the implementation phase and to receive input and feedback in order to improve LiRI’s set up and functionalities. The LiRI team will continuously apply for further devices, financed by local funds, and advertise new job ads if the funds permit an extension of the staff. At the same time, it will initialize collaborative research projects and ideas and establish long-term partnerships between LiRI and external teams.


2024- LiRI in full operation
2022 Evaluation of LiRI
Fall 2020 LiRI kick off event


Official start of LiRI project at UZH
2020-2023 LiRI implementation phase

LiRI is recognized as a Technology Platform


LiRI information event for partners, supporters and potential users

17.04.2019 LiRI is officially integrated into the Swiss Roadmap for Research Infrastructures 2021-2024
09.10.2018 LiRI is approved by the Executive Board of the UZH
2017-2020 LiRI preparation phase