Heriot-Watt is the first university in the UK to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Deaf Association.
The MoU is a formal agreement for both organisations to work together on research with deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users.
Now, in a major leap forward, the British Deaf Association will have representation on advisory groups, presentation of research findings at BDA events, and exchange of information on what research is needed.
And the British deaf community are due to benefit from the partnership, with the use of interpreters and teachers of the deaf.
The document was signed by Gary Quinn, head of the university's British Sign Language team, on Saturday 21 April at the charity's AGM and conference.
Professor Jemina Napier, who brokered the agreement, described the MoU as "the first such agreement between the BDA and a British university”.
She added: “It is a landmark in not only recognising the informal relationship we have already had up until this point in terms of the research we engage in, but also of the importance of partnership to ensure research impact.”