Scheduling Policy & Procedures for the Research Imagers

The following scheduling procedures were designed to encourage more efficient use of imager time and to help ensure that when openings in the schedules become available, they are distributed fairly among users.



Email List

Information regarding imager scheduling is distributed via email. To sign up for the appropriate mailing list, please go to this page. Mailing lists are administered by the following:

Requesting Open Slots

Please go to the appropriate e-calendar and see what time is available. You may request up to five slots for any one group in a one-month period. You may not request slots more than 31 days in advance.

Special requests should be sent to:

for large bore systems: mri-time@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu
for small bore systems: small-bore-time@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu
for MEG system: meg-time@nmr.mgh.harvard.edu

New Imager Schedules

New requests for imager time will be solicited and new magnet and MEG schedules made every 3-4 months When requesting imager time, the Principal Investigator will be asked to provide the following information for billing purposes:

  • Project title
  • Granting agency and grant number
  • Fund number and active dates
  • For non-MGH funds, name of contact billing person at outside institution
  • List of authorized users of the account
  • Updated IRB/SRAC information

Please note that requests for regular imager time slots will be accepted only for existing funded and development accounts with current IRB approval. Pilot and unfunded studies (including approved studies whose funding has run out for this year) will not be assigned regular scan slots on this schedule, but may sign up for open slots.

Special Requests

We will make every attempt to accommodate special requests (e.g. requests for daytime scan hours with technical support), however, with the growing number of studies vying for imager time we ask that users consider their special request carefully, be flexible and reasonable.

Use it or lose it

Past efficiency in use of assigned scan time will be taken into consideration each time the schedule is re-made. Frequent non-use of scheduled scan time indicates a problem that should be discussed before additional time slots are allocated, and may result in a reduction of a user's assigned time in the next iteration of the schedule. After each scheduling period, the history of magnet use will be reviewed carefully for the purpose of improving efficiency.

Cancellation Procedure

If you are unable to use your scheduled time slot, you will not be billed for that time provided you cancel at least 24-hours in advance. You must cancel your time on the appropriate calendar at https://www.nmr.mgh.harvard.edu/facility/schedule/index.html. You will be billed for the entire block of time reserved if you fail to cancel 24-hours prior to your slot. This policy includes any slots taken in addition to your regularly scheduled slots.

The only exceptions to the above are last minute subject cancelations or emergencies. In these cases, you must first cancel your time on the appropriate calendar and then send an e-mail to the appropriate address (above) providing the reason for cancellation. Please make every effort to keep these incidents to a minimum by calling your subjects to confirm their appointments and making sure that they know when and where to report for the study, and how they can reach you at any time. It is our opinion that no-shows and last minute cancellations are rare, but if the records indicate that this is a problem for any particular group, special arrangements will be made.

Reversal of Machine Usage Charge

The reversal of any charges are subject to an internal approval process. The request should be made at the time the study is aborted, along with the reason, by e-mailing the Martinos Center Operations Manager, Mary Foley. If for some reason you receive an invoice for the time, you have 30 days to  request the reversal of the charge.

Trading Slots

Large Bore Scanners: DO NOT give your time slot to another group if you are not going to use it. Cancelled time slots will be reassigned by the technical staff who maintain a prioritized waiting list (which includes commitments to Siemens, pulse programmers or to groups who have lost slots due to repairs or upgrades). 

Small Bore Scanners and MEG: If you trade with another group, you MUST switch the name on the schedule. To do this, please send an email to the appropriate address (above).

Login for the full time you monopolize the scanner

Users must log into and out of the scanner at the beginning of the time slot, and at the time they are ready to turn the magnet over to the next user respectively, not after set-up and before clean-up. During tech supported hours, you will be logged in at the start of your time slot, even if you show up late, unless there are extreme circumstances and you contact a member of the technical staff (Mary Foley, Larry White for MR, Nao Suzuki for MEG). (Records will be kept of all such interactions for future evaluation of scanner use efficiency.) We believe it is fair that the user pay for the time he/she uses the imager bay, (not just the imager itself) and consequently prevents others from using it.

Further Questions

Address questions or comments to Mary Foley.

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