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Free Pilot Hours Program

  • Have you ever considered doing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research?
  • Would it propel your research program in new and exciting directions to have access to a research-dedicated state-of-the-art MRI scanner?

If so, please apply to our new free pilot hours program.  There is a short application form:  Applicants will be selected based on quality and potential for future funding.  If in doubt, apply so we can gauge the interest in scanning on campus. 

The Cornell Magnetic Resonance Imaging Facility (CMRIF) will be providing up to 20 hours of MRI scanner usage for research projects twice yearly.  For Fall 2018 the applications are due on Thursday, October 11, and should be emailed to Please download and complete the research proposal PDF form at

All tenured and tenure-track Cornell faculty without startup funds or past scanner usage are eligible for an award. Funding priorities include high-quality proposals, investigators with a track record of publications, but also early-career faculty members,  and research projects with strong potential to obtain external funding. The goal is to fund research projects likely to result in external funding or leading to longer term research collaborations.

The applications will be reviewed by the CMRIF Protocol Review and Grant Development Committee based on merit and the awards will be announced approximately two months after the submission dates. Awards are ideally spent within 6 months from when they are awarded. At the end of this period, the PI is asked to file a brief report to the CMRIF Director regarding the research progress. Note that the award hours are subject to scanner availability and are forfeited if not used within one year from when they are awarded.

The CMRIF is a state-of-the-art facility dedicated to scientific research and is equipped with a GE Discovery MR750 3T whole-body MRI scanner. It is a university-wide resource located on ground floor of Martha Van Rensselaer Hall. It provides noninvasive imaging with high signal-to-noise ratio and spatial resolution for anatomic and functional investigations of a wide range of specimens including humans, large animals, plants and biomedical materials. MRI offers rich tissue contrasts without using ionizing radiation, making it ideally suited for various scientific studies including neuroscience, behavioral science, biomedical sciences, biomedical engineering, plant physiology, and basic physics and engineering.

The mission of the CMRIF is to enable in vivo noninvasive anatomic and functional imaging investigation of various subjects including humans, large animals, plants, and biomaterials and to enhance Cornell’s competitiveness in developing and maintaining research programs related to imaging. This mission will be achieved through supporting high-quality published research and research grants.

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