Applying to Use Facilities

Application Procedure

Initial contact

For anyone writing a grant (or considering writing a grant) that uses CUBRIC facilities (including MRI, MEG, EEG, Brain stimulation, Sleep Labs and Cognitive Testing Labs) please download our expression of interest form here and send to Zainab Hassan (HassanZ4@cardiff.ac.uk).

Assignment of CUBRIC Scientific Advisor (CSA)

The CSA will contact you to discuss your project in more detail and guide you through the application process. In some cases where the contribution of the CSA is substantial, (i.e. conception, design, analysis and interpretation of data, drafting and critically revising the final article), co-authorship may be appropriate. Participation by solely providing technical advice, the acquisition of funding or the collection of data alone should not justify authorship, as this is part of the advisory role of the CSA. Areas to consider include:

  • participant selection and recruitment
  • power calculations (where appropriate)
  • participant handling requirements
  • experimental design and refinement (including training and use of mock scanners)
  • stimulus selection and preparation
  • software implementation
  • choosing analysis techniques for your acquired data
  • realistic project implementation and completion timescales

The Directorate

Application to use CUBRIC’s facilities requires approval from the Directorate and a relevant School Ethics Committee. All grant applications proposing use of CUBRIC resources must be formally approved by the Directorate before proceeding. The Directorate formally approves all studies (pilot, clinical, equipment or technique development including CUBRIC staff) before access to CUBRIC facilities is authorised. This includes work involving both human participants and phantom studies. The Directorate should be consulted well ahead of the proposed start date of any project involving the use of CUBRIC facilities to ensure that they are available, that proposed methods are technically appropriate, and to give the Centre sufficient time to put in place any new developments that may be required. This is especially important in respect of applications for external funding and the Directorate reserves the right to decline support for grant-funded programmes which have not been subject to proper Ethics Approval prior to submission of the funding proposal.

Submission of a Written Proposal to The Directorate

With guidance from your CSA you will be asked to produce a short written proposal to be submitted to the Directorate for approval.  The current application forms are available online.

Study Presentation and Science Committee Review

When your study receives preliminary approval by the Directorate, you may be asked to make a 10-15 minute scientific presentation in the CUBRIC seminar room. Typically, this will be followed by a question and answer session with a view to providing constructive feedback on the proposed study and recommendations, if appropriate.

Obtaining Ethics Approval from the relevant Regulatory Body

All studies performed on human participants using CUBRIC equipment or resources must have Ethics Approval from the relevant School or local NHS Ethics Committee. In the case of the School of Psychology, completed application forms must be returned electronically, with a hard copy signed by the proposed primary investigator forwarded by mail. Psychology applications are reviewed by the Psychology Ethics Committee. Researchers in other schools should view the School Research Ethics web site.

Satisfactory Risk Assessment and use of Mock Scanners

All applicants must prepare a written Risk Assessment for the study, which must be approved by the relevant Lab Manager(s) and the Director(s) of the appropriate equipment resource, before the project commences. In many cases involving MRI, pre-scanning evaluative studies will be carried out on a realistic “Mock Scanner” to enable new and inexperienced researchers to practice and refine their study design. The purpose of the Mock Scanner is also to enable children and adult subjects to become familiar with the noisy and confined environment of the scanner and to rehearse the tasks expected of them. It is hoped that this will reduce anxiety and assist researchers in obtaining optimal co-operation for research or clinical purposes. Please consult the relevant Lab Manager regarding the risk assessment process.

All applicants will be required to read the CUBRIC Rules and Procedures, and the relevant MRI/MEG Risk Assessments, and sign a sheet to say they have read and understood them, which will be retained in the project file.

Funding and Allocation of Resources

Funding must be in place before the study commences, as scanning charges will be invoiced in advance. Current scanning rates for Cardiff University researchers are available from Zainab Hassan (HassanZ4@cardiff.ac.uk). For information on clinical or commercial scanning costs, please contact the CUBRIC Business Manager. The charge does not apply to time that may be required to analyse data or initially set up a study; for example, to pilot a new acquisition sequence or to refine stimulus presentation or task parameters. The charge covers data acquisition, with assistance from CUBRIC staff as necessary, reconstruction of images, if requested and transfer of images and associated data (e.g. behavioural measures) over the CUBRIC network. Raw data and reconstructed images will be archived at CUBRIC.

A study is defined as any programme of work that will require access to CUBRIC resources. This spans the full range of activity from short pilot start-up studies to major grant applications aimed at internal or external sponsors. Publications from work carried out at CUBRIC should carry due acknowledgement.

Project Initiation

Once the above steps have been dealt with, your project will be allocated a unique project ID, which will be entered into a database listing all relevant details.

You are now in a position to begin setting up your experiment under the guidance of your CSA. Once a proposal is approved, resources will be assigned, dependent upon availability. The Lab Managers, in association with relevant Directors for the MRI and MEG suites, are responsible for the day-to-day scheduling of scanner time and other resources.

Other Higher Education Institute Users

The procedure for application by members of a Higher Education Institute other than Cardiff University is similar to the procedure outlined for Cardiff University users, with the following exceptions:

Proposed users other than collaborations where Cardiff University is the lead partner

  • may be required to provide additional information on insurance and professional liability cover, especially in cases where these users have been permitted to use their own hardware solutions or add-ons;
  • may in some instances be exempt from the full application procedure to the Cardiff University ethics approval system if they have already received ethical approval locally. Under these circumstances, visiting users will be required to complete an alternative CUBRIC External Ethics application form.

Clinical / Commercial users

If you are interested in using the facilities at CUBRIC for clinical or commercial purposes, please contact the CUBRIC Centre Manager, Clare Anderson (AndersonC9@cardiff.ac.uk). In all clinical cases COREC approval must be forthcoming.

Funding

The Directorate does not have independent funding. Within the School of Psychology, some funding is available to cover access charges for preliminary studies for post-docs and staff. Researchers requiring support for preliminary work should apply to the Research Committee. Funding decisions will be made by the Research Committee, taking into consideration advice from the Directorate. Applications will be judged against the criteria of the scientific quality of the proposed research and the likelihood of the research leading to a successful application for external funding.