The SMU-FAIMER Fellowship

Application to the 2023 SMU-FAIMER Regional Institute opens on April 15th 2023


The SMU-FAIMER Regional Institute (SMU-FRI) fellowship is a two-year program. It consists of two residential sessions, which take place at Southern Medical University (SMU), Guangzhou, and two 11-month distance learning sessions, one following the first residential session and one following the second residential session. The first and second residential sessions consist of seven days of highly interactive educational activities. Curriculum topics include student assessment, good teaching practices, program evaluation, distance learning, change management, project planning, conflict management, educational research and scholarship, and qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.

The distance learning sessions focus on the mentoring of Fellows, network building, and the exchange of ideas through participation in an internet discussion group. During the distance learning sessions, Fellows also implement an education innovation project at their home institution. A summary of the project and results are presented during the second residential session.

Limited funding is available to support the Fellows’ course fee, course materials, and meals. However, Fellows (or their institutions) are responsible for the travel expenses and accommodation during the residential sessions. Similarly the costs involved in carrying out the project are also not covered by SMU-FRI. Applicants from Southeast Asia regions may apply for financial aid to cover international travel costs or accommodation based on their financial status.

Education Innovation Project

A major goal of the fellowship program is the completion of an education innovation project, proposed by Fellows in their initial application to the Institute, and then implemented at their home institution. Projects with the potential to improve the health of the community, region, or country of the applicant’s institution are given higher priority in the fellowship selection process.

To encourage the development of knowledge and skills in health professions education scholarship (research, evaluation, and publishing), Fellows prepare a poster and an abstract based on their project after one year of project implementation. Ongoing support from faculty and Fellows throughout the program also fosters scholarship based on project activities. Fellows are encouraged to submit the abstract for publications as a short communication in an appropriate journal.

Project proposals typically involve, but are not limited to, one or more of the following areas: student assessment, educational application of information technology, health systems integration, community-based health professions education, problem-based learning, clinical skills development, professionalism and ethics, critical thinking, program evaluation, faculty development, curriculum revision and/or integration, student affairs, interactive teaching methods, development of medical education units, and distance learning.

To view examples of education innovation projects, please visit the FAIMER Institute Fellow Innovation Projects page on the FAIMER website.


Building regional communities of practice of health professions educators is another major goal of the SMU-FRI fellowship. Throughout the two-year program, each Fellow interacts closely with Fellows from their own class, the preceding class, and the subsequent class. Community building is fostered by a period of overlap in the residential sessions for first- and second-year participants, providing opportunities for interaction among Fellows who are beginning their education innovation projects and those who have worked on their projects for a year. On-line discussion during the distance learning sessions provides an additional forum for group work on research and projects, and for the sharing of resources and experience among current Fellows and Institute graduates. Fellows are encouraged to continue their participation in the larger FAIMER community after completion of the fellowship.

The global FAIMER community includes more than 700 Fellows from more than 200 schools in more than 50 countries. To see a sortable list of FAIMER Fellows, their institutions, countries, fellowship year, and project, please visit the FAIMER website Fellows page.

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Program Faculty

The SMU-FRI is supported by regional FAIMER faculty, who are past FAIMER Institute Fellows, and local Faculty from SMU, as well as international experts in health professions education. To see the  program faculty, please visit the Faculty page.


The SMU-FRI program is organized and administered by its director, Zhimin Jia, with the support of a core team from SMU.


The schedule for the 2023 fellowship cycle is:

 April 2023 Application opens
 August 2023 Application deadline
 August 2023 Review of applications
September 2023 Announcement of awards
September 17-26, 2023 Session 1 (residential session at SMU)
September 2023 – September 2024 Session 2 (distance learning session)
September 24-28, 2024 Session 3 (residential session at SMU)
September 2024 – October 2025 Session 4 (distance learning session)