Bedford Way, Grade II* listed building designed by Sir Denys Lasdun

Birkbeck-UCL Centre for Neuroimaging 26 Bedford Way, London, WC1H 0AP, UK, +44 (0)20 7679 5475

bucni-admin at


Safety Training

Safety training is compulsory for anyone who uses the scanner or works on a project at BUCNI (e.g. Research Assistants who look after participants attending to be scanned, etc.). This is taught in a one-off session and dates will be announced via the mailing list (to which you can subscribe by following the link on the left). Certified BUCNI users are required to attend safety training annually and will be automatically reminded of when they need to attend a refresher session in order to remain certified. Please email Mike Scopa ( if you have any questions.

Operator Training

We encourage regular users of the scanner to become Certified Scanner Operators where possible. This has the advantage of saving on the cost of hiring an operator and can increase scanning flexibility.

In order to become a Certified Operator at BUCNI, an MRI safety trained individual must complete operator training with a BUCNI-Certified Operator Trainer. The process involves not only learning how to safely put subjects into the scanner and operate the console, but also becoming familiar with the BUCNI equipment, procedures, rules and regulations. On average, training lasts approximately 20 hours but this varies across individuals. The bottom line is that training takes as long as necessary to master the material. Until then, trainees are not allowed to operate the scanner without the assistance of a BUCNI Trainer.

The procedure is fairly simple:

  1. Identify a Trainer who is willing to be your lead trainer. Please ask BUCNI administrator Mike Scopa for a list of people who currently have a trainer account at BUCNI. This person is then responsible for ensuring the completeness of your training, although other trainers may also contribute. Once the trainer has agreed, the Principle Investigator on your project needs to send an email to Fred Dick (f.dick at and Mike Scopa (, cc'ing your main trainer to confirm that they are happy for you to start the training, that they understand the procedures, and that they are happy to cover the training fee.

  2. Training involves one-on-one tuition with a trainer. Typically, this begins by observing the trainer whilst they scan and explain what they are doing. At some point, the trainee will take over the scanning operations under the close supervision of the trainer. Once the trainer thinks you're ready, you will act as operator independently, although the trainer will be in the console room to answer questions or assist in the event that you need help. Note that in the early stages of operator training it is most efficient if any experiments you run are thoroughly piloted with the scanner, or if someone else (not you or your operator trainer) takes care running them. This is so that you can focus solely on learning how to run the scanner and will get the most out of your training.

  3. When the trainer feels that the trainee is ready, the trainer and trainee contact Fred Dick and Mike Scopa for final training session(s) by one of the BUCNI head trainers, to make sure that all of the trainee's questions are addressed and that s/he is confident and secure in all aspects of scanner operation. The final step is an operator 'drivers test'. in which we go through the operator trainer checklist. Once everyone is comfortable with the level of preparation, the trainee is signed up on the BUCNI system as an official operator.

  4. When all of the above steps are successfully completed, the trainee must fill out the Operator Skills Checklist form and get it signed by their Lead Trainer and by whoever ran their Advanced Operator Class. This can be handed in to Mike and the new operator will receive a Certificate demonstrating they have successfully completed operator training at BUCNI.

Last updated, 19 Sept 2017