This page provides information about the hourly rate to perform MRI Research and also outlines the process for starting a new research project utilizing equipment managed by the MRI Research Facility.

1. Scanner Rates

The FY2024 rate for human scanners (1.5T, 3T, and 7T)

  • 8am-6pm: $675/hr (With or without technologist)
  • 6pm-10pm: $450/hr (without technologist) and $675/hr (with technologist)
  • 10pm-8am: $200/hr (without technologist) and $675/hr (with technologist)

The FY2024 rate for the small animal scanner (7T)

  • 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday.
  • After-hours and weekend time is available as requested with advance notice, preferably two weeks.
  • Internal scanner rate: $120/hour, scheduled in half-hour increments.

Other supplies (e.g. contrast agents or any further manpower required) will incur additional fees. Scanner time is allocated in 15 minute increments (30 minute minimum), and is available Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 6:00pm. After-hours and weekend scanner time that requires a technologist is available as requested. Advance notice (preferably two weeks) is requested. Contact Autumn Craig and Miranda Fisher for more information.

2. Budgeting for Research Scans

Research scans at The University of Iowa are not considered patient care costs. Research MRI scans are considered "other costs" and are subject to Facilities and Administrative (F&A) costs. An exception to this rule may include scans funded by an NIH contract whereby F&A costs are explicitly excluded. If you believe F&A should not be charged to your grant, consult with your departmental grant accountant.

3. New Project Submission Resources

4. Proposal Submission Guidelines

Meetings will occur every other Monday from 10:30am - 11:30am. Proposals must be submitted by 5pm the Wednesday before the meeting.  The submission process is completely electronic and requires the submission of Microsoft Word or PDF files only. Projects to be considered need to perform the following steps:

  • Proposal Submission Link
  • Prepare a proposal application in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Please email your typed proposal to Alan McCarville at In your typed application, include:
    • Abstract (1/2 page)
    • Background and significance of your proposal(1/2 page)
    • Scanner and coils to be used. A list of available scanners and accompanying equipment can be found on our equipment page
    • Required sequences (e.g. DTI, T1, T2, BOLD, EPI, PEPSI)
    • Will sequence, coil or hardware development be required to implement the protocol?
    • Will image analysis be required?
    • Methods and approach (1 pages)
    • Data analysis (1/2 page)
    • If the proposal is currently unfunded, then provide information about potential funding sources, a plan, and timeline for seeking funding. Describe how this data will be helpful in acquiring funding (1/2 page).
    • References
  • Once you have received your proposal submission login information, log in and complete the electronic submission form. Have the following information available:
    • Primary Investigator contact information
    • Any additional project personnel
    • Status of funding, including an MFK (if available)
    • Status of IRB Submission. Researchers of human studies must provide a stamped copy of the IRB Informed Consent document prior to requesting scanner time.
  • Each research project proposal will be assigned to two members of the review committee. Ad-hoc members may be assigned to review proposals.

5. Review Criteria

Once a project is submitted the following criteria will be used to determine the scientific ranking for the project:

  • Innovation
  • Feasibility of project
  • Funding status/likelihood of funding
  • Development required to implement project
  • Availability of personnel and equipment

6. Pilot Projects

The MRI Research Center supports a limited number of pilot projects each year, totaling approximately 18% of research time utilization. Pilot projects are given a reduced scanner rate to facilitate data collection for inclusion in grant submissions. This time is typically given to projects that are currently unfunded and require "proof of concept" by means of MR images. To qualify for pilot time, a project must meet certain exclusionary conditions, including approval of pilot time by the MRI Research Advisory Committee. To find out about the possibility of obtaining pilot time for MR data collection, contact one of our full board members listed above.

7. Gadolinium Usage Guidelines For Research Studies (Updated Monday, March 6, 2023)

Policy for GBCA use in human subjects for the Magnetic Resonance Research Facility at the Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building, University of Iowa

Studies conducted at PBDB (Pappajohn Biomedical Discovery Building) and MRRF are increasingly using GBCA for non-clinical or research purposes. We have purchased a Bayer power injector to support bolus-injection studies for dynamic contrast-enhanced studies on the 3T Premier, and current protocol requires hand injection of GBCA for the GE Signa 7T and 3T MAGNUS scanners. It is, therefore, necessary to create a policy that balances risks and benefits to our human research subjects.

Anaphylaxis is a rare (0.121% of patients [1] according to single center study, with 0.015% in a recent multi-center meta-analysis [2]), but severe and life-threatening allergic reaction to the Gd-chelate itself. The reaction rate for GBCA is approximately 1 order of magnitude less likely than iodinated CT contrast to be associated with any hypersensitivity reaction and even less likely to be associated with severe reactions [3]. Anaphylaxis requires special emergent medical considerations, since PBDB is not covered by the hospital emergency code response system, and therefore requires a 911 call, and consequent delay before emergency help will arrive. The following is required to safely conduct ANY human subjects study requiring injection of GBCA at the PBDB:

A reaction kit must always be present at the MRI scanner in case a severe reaction occurs (The MRRF will maintain and stock this).
Approved injection hardware and protocols must be used. (e.g. A commercial power injector is available at the MRRF)
There must be an affiliated medical practitioner present. This shall include either:

A licensed UIHC staff physician / surgeon (e.g. radiologist or other specialist with training in management of IV contrast reactions) present on the first floor near the MRI suites to monitor for potential contrast reactions, or
A safety monitoring team, including a licensed nurse or similar credentialed medical staff who is physically present at the MRI scanner to initiate administration of rescue medication, and a licensed UIHC staff physician / surgeon who is confirmed to be page-able to provide medical approval if further medical approval is needed. One such option for the licensed nurse is from the Institute for Clinical and Translational Science (ICTS) clinical research unit (CRU).

Participating licensed clinical trainees (i.e., residents or fellows) must have staff physician / surgeon backup immediately available by phone or pager.
Anyone who is routinely involved in monitoring the subjects as a collaborator should be included on the study team officially listed on the approved IRB protocol. However, safety monitoring teams, as identified in option 2 above, need not be listed. Similarly, if a radiologist covers for another via paging, the covering physician need not be added.

Additional potential risks of GBCA’s include rare complications of the Gd ion disassociating from the chelate molecule. Most significant is the rare complication called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (See FDA Advisory), which has no known cure. Most of the affected patients who developed NSF had a preexisting kidney issue such as ESRD, AKI, or were already on renal dialysis. The molecular structure of GBCA was found to be a significant characteristic in assessing the risk of developing NSF. The ACR (American College of Radiology) has classified GBCA into separate groups to assess this differential NSF risk. For research, we recommend only using Group 2 agents (either single dose Gadovist, Dotarem, or Prohance at 0.1 mmol/kg or lower total dose) unless there is a specific reason related to the research that justifies use of a Group 3 agent such as Eovist. Group 1 agents should be avoided in human subject research and would need specific justification by the IRB for research use (these agents have been removed from the formulary at UIHC due to high NSF risk see: GBCA Hospital Policy).

There have also been recent studies showing accumulation of GBCA in the brain due to multiple doses over extended longitudinal studies [4], but the risk due to this accumulation in the absence of NSF is currently unknown. The IRB (Institutional Review Board) will expect the researcher to present a clear justification for use of gadolinium contrast for non-clinical or research purposes (please see: Hawk IRB GBCA Policy Statements for specific risk language and current and future updates to IRB requirements). There is specific language required in the consent form explaining risks to subjects enrolled in studies involving gadolinium contrast agents. Please consult with the IRB for their latest guidance. The IRB may require each subject’s eGFR value to be checked within a specific time-window prior to injection, especially if a prior eGFR may indicate reduced renal function.


  1. Jung, J.W., et al., Immediate hypersensitivity reaction to gadolinium-based MR contrast media. Radiology, 2012. 264(2): p. 414-22.
  2. Behzadi, A.H., et al., Immediate Allergic Reactions to Gadolinium-based Contrast Agents: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Radiology, 2018. 286(2): p. 731.
  3. Cha, M.J., et al., Hypersensitivity Reactions to Iodinated Contrast Media: A Multicenter Study of 196 081 Patients. Radiology, 2019. 293(1): p. 117-124.
  4. McDonald, R.J., et al., Intracranial Gadolinium Deposition after Contrast-enhanced MR Imaging. Radiology, 2015. 275(3): p. 772-82.


  1. Hospital Policy for GBCA Use:
  2. University of Iowa Health IRB Advisories for GBCA Use in Research:
  3. FDA Advisory for NSF: