Imperial College London

Emeritus ProfessorSue FSmith

Faculty of MedicineNational Heart & Lung Institute

Emeritus Professor of Medical Education



sue.smith Website




Sir Alexander Fleming BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Professor Sue Smith is the Founding Director of the Medical Education Research Unit 

She started her academic career  with a BSc in Pharmacology from the University of Liverpool, followed by a PhD in Biochemistry studying the impact of lung and airway disease on the protease/antiprotease balance at the lung surface at Charing Cross and Westminster Medical School.  

During an MRC fellowship, she had the opportunity to start teaching pharmacology at Charing Cross and the merger with Imperial provided an exciting opportunity to contribute to a number of areas of the (then) new six year MBBS/BSc curriculum, most notably Pharmacology and Therapeutics which she co-lead for the first few years of its existence. Appointment to the role of Deputy Head (Teaching) for NHLI provided an opportunity to take a substantial role in educational leadership which allowed her to shape the taught educational portfolio of the Institute and build a highly successful educational faculty.   

She has held a number of other senior leadership positions in education including Head of Examinations and Assessments, Director of Education and, from 2010-2014, Deputy Director of Education for the Faculty of Medicine. As well as providing direction and support to key elements of educational activity within the Faculty, these leadership roles also provide excellent opportunities to undertake educational research, which was recognized by the College in the conferment of her Chair in Medical Education in 2012.  

In 2014, she was invited to set up the Medical Education Research Unit (MERU) and since then, has steadily built up medical education research activity across the Faculty. . In 2018 she led a successful application for recognition of the Faculty's excellence in student engagement in the form of an ASPIRE award from the Association for Medical Education in Europe.  

Her personal research interests include identifying ways of widening participation in medicine at all stages from pre-application to medical school onwards. Part of her interests in identifying and removing barriers to careers in medicine, is manifest through her exploration of methods for selection at all stages of the clinical career journey



Cardoso Pinto A, Patel S, Stephens M, et al., 2023, Developing as health professionals through community volunteering: exploring the value of a partnership between medical students and primary schools online compared to in-person, Bmc Medical Education, Vol:23, ISSN:1472-6920, Pages:1-10

James M, Madeira Teixeira Baptista A, Barnabas D, et al., 2022, Collaborative case-based learning with programmatic team-based assessment: a novel methodology for developing advanced skills in early-years medical students, Bmc Medical Education, Vol:22, ISSN:1472-6920, Pages:1-12

Badger K, Morrice R, Buckeldee O, et al., 2022, "More than just a medical student”: a mixed methods exploration of a structured volunteering programme for undergraduate medical students, Bmc Medical Education, Vol:22, ISSN:1472-6920

Han H, Clithero-Eridon A, Costa MJ, et al., 2021, On pandemics and pivots: a COVID-19 reflection on envisioning the future of medical education., Korean J Med Educ, Vol:33, Pages:393-404

Salem V, McDonagh J, Avis E, et al., 2021, Scientific medical conferences can be easily modified to improve female inclusion: a prospective study., The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, Vol:9, ISSN:2213-8595, Pages:556-559

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