simon seed

The Simon Initiative


The Simon Initiative’s vision is a data-driven, virtuous cycle of learning science research and innovative educational practice that causes demonstrably better learning outcomes for students from any background or place. Simon Initiative Seed grants are intended to enable CMU faculty to pursue learning research or educational practice projects aimed at improving student learning outcomes at CMU and beyond.

Proposals should strive to do one or both of the following:

  1. Pursue learning research(within or outside of CMU courses) that will lead to stronger subsequent grant proposals for extramural funding, e.g., by conducting preliminary work to address a research question on how students learn in technology-enhanced environments. These proposals seed subsequent research and future grant proposals.
  2. Design and test innovative educational practices(within CMU community) that will lead to enhanced student learning outcomes, e.g., by creating/refining a technology-enhanced course innovation and demonstrating improved student learning, here in Pittsburgh or on CMU’s global campus. These proposals seed educational transformation.


Full-time faculty at any of the CMU global campuses are eligible to apply.


Successful proposals must:

  • Deploy technology-enhanced learning in some form. Novelty of educational technologies per se is not the focus of this program but rather the effective and innovative use of educational technologies to enhance learning outcomes or learning science. Proposed work may involve the integration/application of existing educational technologies OR the creation of new educational technologies. Please describe how educational technology is involved in the proposed project.
  • Collect and analyze data on student learning outcomes. Please specify what direct measures of student learning will be used to assess the effectiveness of educational interventions, guide ongoing improvements, and/or test hypotheses about learning.
  • Articulate a sustainability plan.Please explain how the proposed work will likely be maintained and extended beyond the scope of the seed grant. Examples include: implementing a course innovation that is likely to be used in other courses and that inspires other faculty to re-use, or adapt it; disseminating the work inside and outside of CMU in a way that likely leads to further adoption or expansion; or producing a basis of work for writing future, successful grants to external funders.

In addition, proposals should, to the degree possible:

  • Describe meaningful contributions to learning research or educational practice.Proposals should provide a compelling case that the proposed work will make a difference within the project’s scope and beyond, e.g., by describing likely impact(s) in the target context and then estimating transferability to other contexts; by discussing opportunities to disseminate the work inside and outside of CMU.
  • Leverage results from previous learning research(need not be the PI’s). Proposals should include an evidence-based rationale for the feasibility and success of the proposed work.

Funding Details

Proposals for Simon Initiative Seed Grants may request support of two forms: (1) up to $15,000 in funds (e.g., for faculty salary support, graduate student support, and other purchases) and (2) up to 30 days of technical personnel time (e.g., for pedagogical/assessment support, production of instructional resources, multimedia design, programming for tool development, and data analysis). Further details are described below in the project budget section under Application Process. Projects may be budgeted over 1-2 years. It is expected that 5-8 grants will be awarded. Approximately half of these grants will be targeted for faculty new to TEL or learning research.

Application Process

Proposal Submission Process and Format

Proposals should be prepared as follows:

  • Cover Page (1 page)with the following information:
    • Principal (or Co-Principal) Investigators’ names, affiliations, and contact information
    • Title of the project
    • Abstract (up to 200 words)
  • Project Narrative (2 pages maximum):Summarize the proposed activities, including the motivation or need for the project, any relevant prior work, likely contributions/impact of the work, and its projected sustainability. Be sure to describe the specific context for the proposed work, identify what measures of student learning will be collected, and explain why/how those measures will be used. (Note: Figures and references do not count toward the page limit.)
  • Project Budget (2 pages maximum)
    • For the first component of support (up to $15,000), identify specific budget items and dollar amounts requested for each, including brief justifications as needed. Please note the following:
      • These funds may be used to cover faculty summer salary and course buy-out. However, such expenses must be clearly justified and consistent with college and/or departmental policies.
      • Overhead will not be charged. However, benefits do need to be accounted for if using funds to pay for salary.
      • Funds may be used to support external designers or consultants. However, the need for external consultants must be clearly justified. It is expected that the PI will have first consulted with the Eberly Center and other internal resources to identify whether a sufficient resource exists within the CMU community. If selected for an award, any use of external consultants or vendors will also require review and approval from the contracts office before funds will be made available. This may delay the availability of funds and the initiation of the proposed project. An approved contract is not required at the time of proposal submission.
    • For the second component of support (up to 30 days of technical personnel time), indicate which kinds of work from the list below are most relevant to the proposed work, and for each, estimate the number of working days that the project will likely need. This is expected to be a rough estimate of your anticipated needs; details (e.g., in amount, nature and scope of work) will be adjusted before awards are finalized, based on a further discussion of project needs and the match to available personnel.
      • List of roles for personnel support:
        • Instructional/pedagogical design (including re-design based on data)
        • Production of instructional resources
        • Programming (for tool development)
        • Multimedia/graphic design
        • Assessment design
        • Study design
        • Data analysis


Applicants are asked to answer basic questions regarding the potential need to provide additional guidance and assistance on regulatory and conflict of interest issues. Answers to these questions are NOT expected to adversely affect the likelihood of funding. For more details please see the application submission form.

NOTE: It is the responsibility of the PI of funded proposals to ensure that all necessary contractual and compliance (IRB, export control etc.) approvals are in place prior to the initiation of the project.

Proposals should be submitted using the online form available here.

Review Process

Proposals will be reviewed by a faculty panel, who will make recommendations for funding. Final funding decisions will be made by the VP for Research and the Provost in consultation with the Deans of respective academic units.

Dates and Deadlines

Submission deadline: February 24, 2020

Simon Initiative Seed grants are intended to enable CMU faculty to pursue learning research or educational practice projects aimed at improving student learning outcomes at CMU and beyond.

Simon seed

Simon N. Groot is the founder of East-West Seed and the World Food Prize Laureate 2019.

Simon Groot is a 6th generation descendant of the family that laid the foundation of the Dutch vegetable seed industry. During his many travels as marketing director of the family seeds business Sluis & Groot (now Syngenta) he had noticed the poverty of smallholder farmers in South East Asia, and the need for high-quality seed so farmers could increase their productivity and income.

In 1982 Simon Groot started East-West Seed in the Philippines in cooperation with the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam and Filipino seed trader Benito Domingo. A team of young breeders from Wageningen University (WUR) and from the University of the Philippines in Los Baños (UPLB) started to develop hybrid vegetable varieties.
In 1986 ‘Jade Star’ was introduced, the first locally developed commercial bitter gourd in tropical Asia. Soon tomato and eggplant varieties followed, plus pumpkin, several brassicas and leafy vegetables like kangkong.

Simon Groot soon extended his activities throughout South and Southeast Asia: Thailand in 1984, Indonesia in 1990, Vietnam in 1995, India in 2003, Myanmar in 2009, Tanzania, Guatemala and Cambodia soon followed.

In 2011 Simon Groot received a “Doctor of Science in Agricultural Sciences, Honoris Causa” from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and the university council of Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand, in recognition of his work in vegetable plant breeding and the development of plant breeding programs in Thailand and in tropical Asia.

Simon Groot has been an inspiration to other seedsmen, who followed his initiative in developing the seed markets in Asia. In 1994, he was one of the founding fathers and after that an active member of the Asia and Pacific Seed Association (APSA), and in 2003 of a consortium of vegetable breeders to support AVRDC – The World Vegetable Center – with funds and expertise. He was honored with a lifetime membership of APSA in 2014. In 2015, he was awarded the Mansholt Business Award for Sustainable Entrepreneurship at Wageningen University.

Read his full story below

Team : Supervisory Board

Current position : Honorary Chairman of the Supervisory Board & Founder, East-West Seed Group

Works for East-West Seed since : 1982

Based in : Global


Naresuan University, Phitsanulok, Thailand

Doctor of Science in Agricultural Sciences, Honoris Causa

Other Team Members

Nathabhat Soontornpalin

As Chief Crop Strategist and a member of the Business Development Team (BDT) for the East-West Seed Group, Ms Soontornpalin l.

Vicky Zeng

Ms. Zeng offers extensive experience in strategic planning, process improvement, and working with various functions at both h.

Dilip Rajan

Dilip joined East-West Seed as General Manager for India in June 2018. He has over 25 years’ international experience wi.

Rutger Groot

Rutger Groot is a member of the supervisory board of East-West Seed (since 2006) and concurrently chairs the East-West Seed K.

Ard Groot

Ard Groot comes from seven generations of seedsmen who formed the foundations of the Dutch seed industry in Enkhuizen, The Ne.

Bert van der Feltz

Mr. van der Feltz is President and CEO of the East-West Seed Group. Earlier he served as Senior Vice President of the company.

Simon Jan de Hoop

Very excited to be part of a company that had to be built up from scratch.One of the very first employees to join back in 198.

Michel Devarrewaere

Mr. Devarrewaere has over 28 years of experience in the seed industry in both the public and private sectors, where he held t.

Stuart Morris

Just a small change to their farming methods can have a big impact on their livelihood. Stuart believes the vegetable fa.

Dr. Conrado Balatero

We take an integrated breeding approach for developing new varieties.Dr. Conrad’s journey began with East-West Seed in .

Dr. Hatthaya Arunothayanan

An academy of learning.“Our biotech provides the tools to our plant breeders to completely transform the breeding progr.

Lysette Lacambra

Happy farmers means happy extension workers. After starting out as a Technology Transfer Specialist in the Philippines f.

Dr. Darush Struss

Biotech makes modern plant breeding possible.As well as an “MS degree in Plant Pathology, a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding fro.

Lamai Yapanan

Turning plant breeding from a science into an art form.Lamai firmly believes that “a plant breeder is both scientist an.

This Could Be You !

Where passionate teams work together to serve farmers, learn, and innovate

East-West Seed

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World Food Prize

Our founder & honorary chairman, Simon N. Groot was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize in 2019.

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East-West Seed companies or EWS companies have their own separate identities but in this web site we may sometimes use “East-West Seed” or “EWS”, “Group”, “we” or “us” when we refer to East-West Seed companies and EWS companies in general or where no useful purpose is served by identifying any particular East-West Seed company or EWS company.

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Welcome to the topsite. This web site is owned and operated by East West Seed International Limited, a company registered in The Kingdom of Thailand with registered number 0125543008928 whose registered office is at № 50/1 Moo 2, Sainoi – Bang Buathong Road, Sainoi Sub-district, Sainoi District, Nonthaburi Province, Thailand, Post Code 11150. Visitors to this web site are bound by the following terms and conditions, please read these carefully before you continue. By accessing and using our Website, you agree to accept and follow our Terms and Conditions. If you do not agree to accept and follow our Terms and conditions, you may not access, use or download materials from our web site.

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Additionally, East-West Seed entities and their respective service providers and licensors hereby disclaim:
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East-West Seed reserves the right to update or modify these terms and conditions at any time without prior notice. Your use of our Website following any such change constitutes your agreement to accept and follow the revised Terms and Conditions.

Governing Law and Jurisdiction

These Terms and Conditions shall be governed by, are subject to, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the Netherlands. All disputes will be settled in the Court having jurisdiction. However East-West Seed reserves the right to serve a summons on website user to appear in the court of the country where the latter has its registered office, or where the website user has a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment.

Date: April 19, 2018
The original English version is the prevailing version (
© East-West Seed Group

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East-West Seed breeds and produces high quality vegetable seeds for tropical conditions. Blending western knowledge with eastern farming experience, we aim to increase the income of smallholder vegetable farmers in the tropical countries of Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.