Simon is an economist who began his career working overseas, first in Kenya and India for the UN Development Programme, and then in Bolivia for the UK Overseas Development Administration. He was a Fellow of IDS in Sussex from 1981-1997 and was Director of the Overseas Development Institute from 1997-2009. Since 2009, he has inter alia been Executive Chair of the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (2010-17), and Specialist Adviser to the International Development Select Committee of the UK House of Commons (2010-17). Simon is a past President of the Development Studies Association of the UK and Ireland. In 2007, he was awarded a CBE for services to international development. He writes extensively on development policy.