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Seed Grant Information Sessions: Understanding Learning Differences in Context

Monday, June 21, 2021
12:00pm - 2:00pm
Wednesday, July 14, 2021
1:00pm - 3:00pm

Optional Seed Grant Information Sessions / Office Hours


Stanford's Transforming Learning Accelerator, a long-range university project, creates effective learning solutions using the latest advancements in technology, data, learning and neuro sciences. We collaborate across disciplines and with partners to bring scalable and equitable solutions to all learners. The Graduate School of Education's Initiative on Learning Differences and the Future of Special Education is one of five initial focus areas within the Transforming Learning Accelerator. The goal of the Learning Differences Initiatives is to advance knowledge about the complex array of factors underlying learning differences and design learning that affords learner, educator, and system transformation.

We invite Stanford researchers across all disciplines to submit interdisciplinary research proposals on learning differences and/or the future of special education for projects funded up to $80,000 for a one year project. This challenge is open to interdisciplinary research projects that employ quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed research methods. To be selected for funding, proposals must field an interdisciplinary team of researchers. Applicants are asked to attend a pre-submission meeting on June 17, 2021 to facilitate interdisciplinary networking as well as advance the need and approach to a pressing issue in the learning differences arena. The agenda will include questions about this Request for Proposal (RFP), at which time applications will open. The deadline for applications is July 16, 2021.


We will host two optional information sessions to provide an overview of the project and answer questions from prospective applicants as outlined below. Please use the RSVP link listed at the bottom of this event page to RSVP for one or both sessions.

  • Session #1: Monday, June 21 from 12-2pm PT
  • Session #2: Wednesday, July 14 from 1-3pm PT


We will host a mandatory pre-submission meeting on June 17, 2021 from 3:00 - 5:00pm. The agenda will include:

  • 3:00 – 3:30pm: Keynote speaker with panel Q&A
  • 3:30 – 3:45pm: Proposal overview, Video demonstration of sample projects
  • 3:45 – 4:00pm: Live Q&A, wrap-up
  • 4:00 – 5:00pm: Optional office hours with Learning Differences faculty and staff

Prior to the event, participants will submit a one-page description and/or a one minute video about their research and collaboration interests. These will be posted prior to the pre-submission meeting. Participants will also complete a pre-event survey indicating their areas of interest. Submitted videos and surveys will be used to prepare networking materials. To RSVP for the pre-submission meeting, click here.


A request for proposals will be shared at the pre-submission meeting. We encourage interdisciplinary research submissions that will advance asset-based approaches to pressing challenges facing individuals with learning differences. Successful applications will catalyze creative and transformative research to improve learning outcomes for students with learning differences. Research efforts should be geared towards individuals aged 5 through 21. With a preference for early career investigators, this funding is open to all Stanford faculty and post-docs who include research collaborators from one or more disciplines, to foster the development of interdisciplinary networks. Proposals should focus on one or more of the following:

  1. The design of learning environments, learning tools, and/or learning practices that address equity issues (e.g., challenges related to access or opportunities) involving learners with learning differences. This may include but is not limited to challenges that require the integration of anthropological, architectural, archaeological, biological, cultural, environmental, legal, sociological, and technological perspectives on learning.
  2. Understanding of learning differences across sensory, physical, cognitive, and/or social/emotional dimensions of human capacity within specific contexts.
  3. Assessments of human and/or institutional capacities, particularly in the contexts of education, medicine, policy, and psychology and interdisciplinary responses (e.g. re-framings, interventions) to advance inclusive education agendas.

Proposals will be evaluated by a panel of interdisciplinary faculty from the GSE’s Initiative on Learning Differences and the Future of Special Education.


Applications will be evaluated by a panel of Stanford faculty, external practitioners, and Transforming Learning Accelerator research staff. The panel will be looking for projects that advance the goals of the project and that engage diverse perspectives to create precise, novel and creative learning solutions. These should be learner-centered, incorporate the science and design of learning, and have pathways to impact. 

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