Gruss Magnetic Resonance Research Center

Application Process

Conceiving an imaging project proposal:

The Center welcomes all proposals to employ MRI and MRS in human and animal research. While fully developed proposals will be accepted for review, consultation and/or collaboration with MRRC faculty is strongly recommended, particularly for investigators with little or no technical expertise with MR. MRI/MRS experiments are typically quite complex and involve multiple considerations at all levels from design through data processing and analysis. MRRC faculty are available to consult on the design and execution of proposals. Thus, the first step in submission of a proposal should generally be consultation with an MRRC faculty member. The following suggestions will guide you toward the appropriate contact. Faculty may be contacted directly by email or appointments can be requested through Assim Yacoob at or at extension 3390.

  • Human functional or structural studies: Dr. Michael Lipton, Dr. Mark Wagshul, Dr. Craig Branch
  • Other Human Studies, including spectroscopy: Dr. Michael Lipton, Dr. Mark Wagshul, Dr. Craig Branch
  • Large animal (3T) studies: Dr. Craig Branch, Dr. Michael Lipton, Dr. Mark Wagshul
  • Small animal studies (9.4 T): Dr. Craig Branch, Dr. Min-Hui Cui
  • Image Processing Needs: Dr. Roman Fleysher
  • Computational Resource Needs:

You may download the MRRC Application form here.


Who can submit and work on an MRRC protocol?

Principal Investigators: All studies must be under the supervision and responsibility of a faculty member. Students and postdocs are encouraged to pursue research within the MRRC and may assume major roles in preparing proposals and executing studies. However, all studies must have a faculty PI. Proposals from investigators outside of Einstein may be considered. However, priority is given to the work of Einstein investigators.

Investigator Safety Requirements: The MRI environment poses numerous serious and potentially life threatening hazards. Prior to the initiation of any project, all project personnel, including the PI, must comply with all safety regulations including personal safety screening and completion of formal MR safety training. Access to the MRI facilities is restricted to those individuals who have received safety training. Investigators and students who wish to begin the process of formulating, submitting and initiating a new MRRC protocol should first visit the MRRC Safety page and familiarize themselves with MRRC safety policies and complete online training.


MRRC access will be terminated for any individual violating MRRC use policy, including unauthorized use of MRRC systems, unsafe use of the systems, or permitting unapproved access to the MRRC facility or systems to unauthorized persons.


What are the funding requirements for my proposal?

Rates for use of the MRRC systems are found on the MRRC charge structure page. These charges include expendable resources used during the MR experiment, (including surgical supplies and anesthetics) and use of any support equipment, presently available in the MRRC.

MRRC Time Awards are available on a limited competitive basis for projects designed to generate pilot data that will support proposals for external funding.  Any proposal requesting a Time Award should include an MRRC staff collaborator, and solid evidence that an external funding proposal has either been submitted or is being written and has a reasonable chance of success. The MRRC will also consider Time Awards for novel projects, the outcome of which will either substantially improve the MRRC resources available to other investigators, or will yield some other significant benefit.  A completion report must be submitted at the end of any Time Award.  Time Awards must be completed with one year of the date of initiation.

How do I submit a proposal?

All proposals must include a brief narrative description of the project, including specific aims and hypotheses as well as experimental design, methods and a subject sample size justification. Sufficient background information must be included to justify the merit and significance of the project. Relevance to the priorities of funding agencies should be addressed. These latter factors are especially important for proposals seeking Time Awards. Any associated grant proposal should be submitted with the application. Nonetheless, the brief narrative proposal described above must be submitted, even in the case of a funded grant proposal.

Fully completed MRRC protocol application forms may be submitted via email to or in person at the MRRC.  The MRRC Protocol Review Committee meets on a monthly basis. 

Proposals may be submitted prior to obtaining IRB/CTI or IACUC approvals. However, all protocols must obtain the proper authorizations before they will be approved for initiation.  Human use protocols must obtain CCI/IRB approval, while animal use protocols must have IACUC approval. Note that CCI/IACUC approval does NOT guarantee that a proposal will be approved for use by the MRRC.

CCI/IRB consent templates can be found here and here. 


MRRC Review Committee (MRC)

Proposal reviews by the MRRC Review Committee (MRC) occur monthly. The committee is comprised of MRRC faculty. Ad hoc members may be invited for specific review requirements. The committee reviews protocols for safety, feasibility, sample size, resource requirements, utilization and availability.


MRC Review Criteria

  1. Scientific Merit: The MRC does not review for scientific merit, but may require evidence of scientific merit, such as a letter of support from the department chair or funding agency reviews.
  2. Feasibility: Is the propsal technically feasible within the existing MRRC resources? Are additional resources or technical implementation required and how will they be addressed?
  3. Sample Size: The MRC will determine the time necessary to complete the project.  This may differ from that requested in the proposal.
  4. Historical MRRC Usage: Is the proposal related or similar to a previously approved protocol? The MRC will request clarification of the relationship between proposals and prior studies and their MR time allocation. This is especially relevant to request for MRRC Time Awards.
  5. Likelihood of Success:  The MRC will assess whether a proposal is reasonably likely to yield a publishable result. The completion of every study must be followed by submission of a manuscript, and the MRRC must receive a copy of this manuscript in a timely fashion. The support of the MRRC faculty and resources must be acknowledged in all papers and conference presentations.
  6. Safety: The MRC is responsible for assessing the SAFETY of all proposals, whether previously reviewed or not.


MRC Actions:

The MRC will approve, disapprove or conditionally approve each protocol submitted for consideration. The MRC decision will be forwarded to the principal investigator and reported to the MRRC Institutional Oversight Committee.


Ongoing MRC Review

The MRC reviews all approved protocols annually, and may issues requests for updates on project status.  Failure to respond to these requests will result in suspension protocol.


Application for MRC Pilot Grant (MPG) - only one MPG is allowed per grant application

From time to time, the MRRC issues a Request for Applications for Pilot Projects (please see the Einstein Research page under Investigator Resources).  

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