Justyna Olko secures nearly €2 million for five-year project

15.2.2021 | The ethnologist, historian, and sociolinguist will explore multilingual communities across four continents.
Prof Jystyna Olko
Bild vergrößern
(© Michal Jędrak, Archiwum FNP)

Prof Jystyna Olko

Professor Justyna Olko is one of only three Polish researchers to win the prestigious Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), announced December 9th 2020. The grant is awarded only to senior, outstanding scientists. In Prof Olko’s case, the grant will go towards a five-year-project on local multilingualism.

Although she is a specialist in the Nahua language and culture, Prof Olko’s new project will be looking beyond Mesoamerica. Focused on understanding the mechanisms behind multilingualism, specifically the emergence, continuity and loss of it within a geographical and cultural area, she is planning to study a series of multilingual hotspots in Central-Eastern Europe, Mesoamerica, South Africa and the Archipelago of Vanuatu in the Pacific.

“We are planning to explain how and why local multilingualism emerges, what contributes to its continuity, why it erodes, and how it can re-emerge. [The project] will address not only essential gaps in the state of knowledge but also significant questions about the past and the present of human development,” Prof Olko says in a press release.

Prof Olko currently holds the role as Director of the Centre for Research Practice in Cultural Continuity within the “Artes Liberales” Faculty at the University of Warsaw, where she did her initial academic training. During her career, she has also spent significant time in the United States as a post-doctoral and visiting fellow at Yale University, the University of Utah, Brown University, University of Oregon and Harvard University.

The Consolidator Grant is incredibly competitive: out of over 2,500 applications submitted in 2020, only 327 scientists were awarded funding. This is the second time Prof Olko secures a grant from the ERC, after she won an ERC Starting Grant in 2012.*   (© AcademiaNet)
*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article stated, “Prof Olko is the first Polish scholar to receive an ERC grant more than once”. This is not correct. We have updated the article accordingly.

More information


  1. Read what our members say about AcademiaNet.

Follow us

No more excuses!

  1. Please download the brochure "No more excuses" and read more about female experts in Europe, and about AcademiaNet.


  1. Verena Rieser: ‘A lot of voice assistants with female personas are deliberately submissive’

    How do you design a helpful robot that doesn’t accept verbal abuse? AcademiaNet met computer scientist, Prof Verena Rieser, for a chat about gendered voice assistants, AI for the common good and how to mitigate the negative effects of the pandemic on women’s careers.

  2. Veerle Cnudde secures prestigious €1.5 million Vici grant from NWO

    The funds will go towards a project on bioprotection of stone using bacteria.

  3. Rubina Raja to publish book series on women of the past

    The classical archaeologist will act as editor on the series which will explore the lives of women throughout history.

  4. Manami Sasaki part of new stellar X-ray Research Unit eRO-STEP funded by DFG

    The astronomer will use a satellite x-ray telescope to study the final stages in the lives of stars.

  5. ‘Scientists are still human beings with presuppositions about sex differences’

    Science is meant to be objective but sometimes the personal bias of the researcher gets in the way. To find out more, AcademiaNet went online for a conversation with Associate Professor Malin Ah-King from Stockholm University, whose work sits at the intersection of gender studies and evolutionary biology.

Academia Net