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information/application

How to apply to use the centre for a study

Please see the forms page for links to all of the below documents. This page also contains a Project Checklist, which is a useful aid for checking that you understand how to use the centre and run a project.

University of York users

Initial Contact

All applicants must complete the YNiC Project Proposal Form and send it electronically to rec-submission@ynic.york.ac.uk. This form provides us with the outline of your project to help ensure any specific requirements can be met. In addition preliminary financial arrangements are detailed. To complete the financial section of this form you will need to contact the YNiC administration staff (reception@ynic.york.ac.uk), who will advise on the current charging rates and policy.

Once we receive your Project Proposal Form, you will be allocated a unique Project ID for future reference (project history and centre resources will be allocated and authorised with reference to this ID). You will also be invited to make a project presentation, at which point you will have the opportunity to meet relevant members of the team and discuss your ideas and requirements. Depending on the outcome of these discussions you will be advised on how best to pursue your formal Research Ethics and Governance application (details in the section below). This may include advice on:

  • Subject selection and recruitment
  • Subject handling requirements
  • Experimental design
  • Stimulus selection and preparation
  • Software implementation
  • Choosing analysis techniques for your acquired data
  • Realistic project implementation and completion timescales

Research Ethics and Governance applications

Once you have submitted your project proposal and completed a project presentation (described above), applications to use the Centre’s facilities must gain approval from the YNiC Research Governance Committee. Completed application forms must be returned to this body electronically and will include your unique Project ID in the application. The current application form (YNiC RGC Application) can be downloaded below.

Applicants for RGC Approval must also read the YNiC RGC Guidance (below), which describes the general principles and procedures for obtaining research approval as well as describing in detail how to complete the form and how to prepare a Participant Information Sheet (below) and a Study-specific Consent Form (below).

In short - you will need these four documents:

Applicants who have or are obtaining IRAS approval, or ethics approval from a body other than the YNiC RGC will also find guidance in the RGC guidelines document. These applicants should also complete the External Ethics Form (also available in Word format: External Ethics Form (doc version)). It should be noted that external ethical approval does not guarantee access to the facilities here. This does not mean that we apply different ethical standards, rather it means that, while entirely ethical, your study simply may not be possible to perform at YNiC. It is essential therefore that you liaise with YNiC to determine whether your study is feasible before seeking external ethical approval. The best way to do this is by completing a Project Proposal form.

Applicants seeking approval to work with individuals recruited via clinical routes or participants who are not able to give written informed consent (including children) will also need to read the documentation produced by IRAS available at https://www.myresearchproject.org.uk/ which also contains other useful information about the IRAS approval.

Applicants intending to undertake research on individuals who are unable to give informed consent should consult the following documents:

Under normal circumstances we would expect such research to be reviewed by IRAS.

Applications for RGC Approval should be sent electronically (in PDF format) to rec-submission@ynic.york.ac.uk - please include the Project ID in the subject line of the email.

RGC review

The YNiC RGC reviews applications on a rolling basis. At least two individuals will scrutinize your application and supporting documentation. The Chair of the RGC will then communicate the decision on your application. Frequently, the RGC encounters applications that require minor changes to Information Sheets and Consent forms because they do not conform to up-to-date policies outlined in the YNiC RGC Guidance. To avoid delays, therefore, it it essential to refer to up-to-date guidance.

A decision on your application may take some weeks depending on reviewer availability. Please be aware that communication concerning your application should only be through rec-submission@ynic.york.ac.uk. Every effort is made to get an initial decision to applicants within a month.

Allocation of resources and project initiation: Subject to the RGC approving your application and a financial agreement being finalised according to our current charging policy, your project will be allocated resources against the unique Project ID previously assigned. You will now be in a position to begin setting up your experiment under the guidance of the project's PI (principal investigator).

Pilot scanning sessions - getting your project up and running

Once your project is set up and you have received RGC approval, your project will be put into pre-scan state. This will allow you access to up to one hour of time on the scanner/lab during which member of YNiC staff will be present to aid you. The PI / student supervisor must attend this session so that any arising queries can be addressed. You will not acquire any human data in this session (we will only scan a phantom), as the purpose of this session is to:

  • Get your stimulus code running in synch with the scanners
  • Set up your data acquisition protocols (e.g. in MRI, the TE/TR, scan duration, number of anatomical / functional scans, etc.)
  • To work out the amount of time you will have to book the suite for scan sessions to ensure you have enough time to acquire your data at each visit.

In order for us to help you get up and running, we expect you to prepare for the pilot session by:

  • Having stimulus code that is tested and works - NB this code should not just be a sample of what you intend to run, it should be the code as you want to run it in the scanner. We have 3 different 'Stimulus PCs' in YNiC, which have the same stimulus hardware as those in the scanners. These can be found in: the corner of open plan (next to the interview room), the open plan interview room, and the MRI corridor interview room. We recommend testing your stimuli on one of these PCs before attending your pilot.

  • Having an understanding of how your stimulus code will synchronise with the scanners - will you be sending triggers to the scanner (typical in MEG) or receiving triggers from the scanner (typical in MRI).

  • Knowing the duration of your stimuli and how long you want the scanner to run for each scan.
  • Knowing what data acquisition parameters you want, e.g. (in MRI) the voxel size you want, the TE, TR, number of slices, how many anatomical and functional scans you want, etc.
  • If you (or your lab) has recently run a study in which the scanner settings are very similar to those you would like to use for your current study, please bring information about those projects (especially the project P-number) with you.

To arrange a pilot session, email support@ynic.york.ac.uk. Please include your Project ID and specify which scanner you need to arrange the pilot for.

At the end of the pilot session, your scan should be ready to go and the status of the project will be updated to scanning. If you do not come to the pilot session adequately prepared, or if you make subsequent changes to your stimuli or acquisition parameters that require further testing after the pilot session, any additional testing and development time will be fully charged and will need to come out of the hours allocated to your project by the RGC.

Please look through the Project Checklist after your pilot scan to ensure you are familiar with how to run a project at YNiC. Procedural information on preparing participants and booking scans can be found on the Procedural Information pages.

Other Higher Education Institute users

The procedure for application by a member of a Higher Education Institute other than the University of York is the same as the procedure outlined for University of York. Applicants from Higher Education Institutes other than the University of York may be required to provide additional information on insurance and professional liability cover, especially in cases where these users are utilising their own hardware solutions or add-ons.

Clinical users

Users interested in using the facilities at YNiC for clinical purposes should contact the Clinical Co-ordinator (reception@ynic.york.ac.uk). Please follow this link to find the latest information on applying for IRAS approval, which is a requirement for research conducted on participants recruited through the NHS https://www.myresearchproject.org.uk/ More information regarding completing ethics applications can be found below.

IRAS Guidance

Users of YNiC who require IRAS approval will be required to obtain this before being allowed to use YNiC's facilities. Information can be found on the NHS website.

When completing a IRAS application, applicants are required to provide SSI (Site Specific Information) about the venues in which patients / participants will be tested and recruited and information about the insurance and liability cover of the site, as well as additional information like CVs and contact details for investigators based at the site.

Commercial users

Users interested in using the facilities at YNiC for commercial purposes should contact the Director (reception@ynic.york.ac.uk).