IBRAiN Policies

The CT Institute for the Brain and Cognitive Sciences (IBaCS) offers IBACS-BIRC Research Assistantships in Neuroimaging (IBRAiN). After formal training, IBRAiN fellows provide a teaching resource to help BIRC users design and implement experimental procedures for fMRI, EEG, TMS and other methodologies, provide resources for data analysis, and oversee use of equipment by others. IBRAiN service to BIRC users is intended to be focused on educating BIRC users, rather than deliverable results.

Scope of Activities

IBRAiN assignments will be reviewed, and potentially modified, at least once every semester. If you have a pilot project that could benefit from an IBRAiN student or are interested in providing additional training in your lab, please submit a short proposal.

To further their education and facilitate neuroimaging research, IBRAiN fellows may:

Assist pilot projects in developing expertise

IBRAiN fellows may assist investigators involved in pilot work (e.g. a BIRC or IBaCS seed grant) by helping them develop the necessary expertise to independently conduct neuroimaging research and obtain pilot data for an extramural grant application with a neuroimaging component. The recipient team should (1) have minimal existing expertise in the relevant neuroimaging techniques; (2) have identified a team member who will develop their own neuroimaging skills through partnering closely with the IBRAiN fellow to learn the required techniques; (3) have a plan for providing salary support to someone with the required expertise, should the grant be funded. For BIRC seed grants, applicants should provide a training plan that describes how the fellow’s expertise will be transferred to the applicant’s own research team. In general, IBRAiN fellows will transition out of the project once funded, unless prior arrangements have been made (e.g. the newly funded grant provides partial salary support for the fellow). IBRAiN fellows are responsible for instructing their partner, but should not hold primary responsibility for any component of a project; responsibility should remain with the team member working with the fellow.

Receive additional hands-on training by embedding in an experienced neuroimaging lab.

IBRAiN fellows may be assigned to assist experienced research labs at the data analysis stage of an active project, ideally one which will translate to additional extramural grant applications, by sharing an existing workload with another member of the project. These assignments are made considering the fellow’s training interests, the lab’s needs, and the potential for the fellow’s newly developed skills to be applied elsewhere. The PI or an experienced member of the lab is expected to contribute to the fellow’s training by providing guidance on neuroimaging techniques outside the fellow’s existing expertise. IBRAiN fellows should not hold primary responsibility for any component of a project.

Provide general training or resources to the BIRC community

IBRAiN fellows may also provide narrowly-scoped training to BIRC users in general (e.g. EEG equipment training) or help develop resources intended to benefit the BIRC community as whole (e.g. develop or document standard processing pipelines).

Hold office hours

Fellows hold regular office hours to answer questions, help troubleshoot issues, or provide short tutorials.

Limitations of the IBRAiN program

IBRAiN fellows should never be considered a de facto substitute for or alternative to a member of a scientific team who would otherwise be employed to provide the necessary expertise. Recipients of extramural funding are expected to fund and assemble a team with the required expertise (e.g. familiarity with MRI analysis software, computing).

Data collection and analysis service

BIRC also provides a fee-for-service data collection and analysis service. This service is appropriate for investigators who want to outsource some or all of the workload associated with a project. Depending on availability and the skills needed, these services may be provided by a supervised IBRAiN fellow or by another member of BIRC scientific staff.

Revised July 27, 2023.