This Special, published for SEDA’s 20th anniversary, explores the impact of the Small Grant scheme. Since its inception SEDA has made funds available each year for those in the educational development community to conduct timely and relevant projects. For the first time, this Special showcases the outcomes and impact – on practice and on careers – of a range of successful SEDA Small Grant projects. The projects featured remain timely themes in educational development, including student voice and inclusive assessment, interdisciplinary working to effect change, new lecturer orientation and capacity-building in pedagogic research. There are also reflections from successful grant winners beyond the featured topics, suggesting how engaging with SEDA and the projects enabled through the Small Grant scheme both built confidence and conferred legitimacy on educational development research. These are valuable goals, well worth celebrating in SEDA’s 20th year.