Simon Initiative Seed Grants for CMU Faculty - Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Simon Initiative Seed Grants for CMU Faculty

As part of the ProSEED program, The Simon Initiative has launched a seed grant program for faculty to pursue ideas related to learning science and technology-enhanced learning at CMU.  

Who is eligible to apply?

Full-time CMU faculty may serve as Principal Investigator(s). Collaborations among CMU colleagues are strongly encouraged but not required.

What is the goal?

To enable CMU faculty to pursue research or development projects aimed at improving student learning outcomes through science and/or technology. Proposed projects may involve technology-enhanced courses, course modules, assessment tools, preliminary learning science research projects (possibly including pilot data collection), or advanced technology prototype development. Seed grants are intended to catalyze more collaborative work on educational improvement at CMU, and to support the creation of larger interdisciplinary grant proposals for learning science research.   

How to apply?

Please submit the following components, assembled as a single pdf file by
March 31, 2014

  • Cover Page (1 page): Principal (or Co-Principal) Investigators’ names, affiliations, and contact information; title of the project; and brief abstract, up to 200 words.
  • Project Narrative (2 pages maximum): Outline the need for the project, a brief plan to address that need (including data-based assessment of outcomes), the expected benefit and impact of the project, and projected timeline. 
  • Project Budget (1 page maximum): Identify specific budget items and amounts requested, with brief justifications as needed. Likely budget items may include faculty course-release time, graduate student or staff support, research participant costs, technology needs, etc. Please note that, in addition to the funds awarded, additional resources will be available from the Eberly Center and LearnLab to support these projects, including staff and expertise for course design, educational technology development, technology-based experimentation, and technology-based data analysis. 
  • Letter of support from applicants’ respective Dean(s) indicating their endorsement of the proposal. Note the following:
    • For projects with investigators in multiple colleges or schools, only one letter of support is required but more are welcome.
    • Guidance for the recommended content of letters can be found in this document. Letters with comparable content can be attached separately or information may be entered directly on this document to serve as the necessary letter of support, whichever is most convenient.
    • Letters of support may be submitted up until April 7 (all other application materials are due March 31).

What are the criteria?

Successful proposals will involve teaching and learning research and/or development at CMU or other locations and will include evidence-based assessment of learning outcomes. In addition, projects should strive to do one or more of the following:

  • Demonstrably impact teaching and learning at CMU, e.g., by creating/testing/refining a compelling course innovation or by demonstrating improved student learning from a course innovation, here in Pittsburgh or on CMU’s global campus.
  • Pursue learning research within or outside of CMU, e.g., by testing an instructional method or principle of learning within a course, by contributing to the scholarship of teaching and learning; by developing a novel educational technology or using an existing technology in a novel way; or by leveraging educational data to make a scientific discovery.
  • Leverage results beyond the original project’s scope, e.g., by producing a course innovation that inspires other faculty to re-use, copy, or adapt it; by disseminating the work inside and outside of CMU; or by producing a basis of work for writing future, successful grants to external funders. Proposals should discuss opportunities for and likelihood of the project being sustained or bringing in additional funding, including external and internal sources.

How will this program be administered?

A faculty selection committee will review and evaluate proposals. This committee will have six members from the University community plus the Provost. Three committee members will represent educational development concerns and three will represent educational research concerns. The Provost will have final decision-making responsibility. Applicants will be notified by April 30, 2014, and funding will begin as early as July 1, 2014. The expectation is that ten seed grants will be awarded, with typical budgets in the range of $5,000 - 20,000 and typical project durations of 1-2 years.