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The Department benefits from staff with a wide range of research interests in the broad areas of linguistics, applied linguistics and language teaching. Over the years, it has also established itself in the area of professional communication, both in terms of its research activities, expertise and teaching. In January 2006, the department established the territory's first Research Centre for Professional Communication in English (RCPCE), marking an important milestone in promoting the further advancement of professional communication in Hong Kong.

The establishment of the PolyU-Tsinghua U Centre for Language Sciences (PTCLS) was authorised by The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Tsinghua University on 1 July 2011. In October 2011, PTCLS was officially inaugurated in Hong Kong at the opening ceremony of the 7th International Symposium on Teaching English at Tertiary Level, marking a new phase of collaborative research between the Department of English, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Tsinghua University. Committed to strengthening academic bonds between the two Departments and to providing a platform for collaborative research of language sciences in East Asia as well as the whole world, PTCLS strives to promote our understanding of the nature, development, learning, teaching and use of English as a second or foreign language or as an international lingua franca, in classrooms, professional workplaces and other speech communities.