UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Media Work

Thanks to our excellent community of researchers, there are increasing numbers of media-related projects being proposed and carried out at BUCNI.

BUCNI Media Policy

Research is our first priority at BUCNI but we recognize that public engagement is also important and we try to encourage it. It does, however, raise a number of important issues both in terms of access to the facilities and with respect to safety, so we have developed the following policies for using the BUCNI facilities for media work. To make media work as transparent and stress-free as possible for everyone while guaranteeing safety, we have revised and formalized our guidelines.

Getting Started

If a media organization has been in contact with you requesting to use the BUCNI facilities – and you’d like to go ahead with it, please contact us before proceeding. We will need to approve the project before you agree on details with the media organization in order to monitor safety, ensure billing is carried out appropriately, and for our own records. In the first instance, please contact Winnie Yeh by email (w.yeh@bbk.ac.uk) and with a reasonable time in advance. Winnie can help with any questions including setting up an appropriate project, scheduling time, and billing.

A variety of different media opportunities exist that are not limited to just TV or radio. We have had people writing/promoting books, reporters working on stories, funding agencies doing videos, and even a request to provide real-time help with the Reith Lectures series. Anything that falls outside of traditional scientific studies that go through the standard BUCNI project proposals and presentations falls under this policy.


Use of BUCNI - regardless of whether scanning takes place - costs £550 per hour for media projects, and is charged based on the maximum of i) the time scheduled or ii) the time used, in whole hour blocks. If a TV program books two hours but then only ends up using BUCNI for one hour, they will still be billed for the full two hours because by scheduling the time, they have blocked the facilities from being used by others. Similarly, booking a single hour and then overrunning means the program will be billed for the actual time rounded up to the nearest hour. So 75 minutes of BUCNI use will be charged as two hours. Funding is always tight, so this will encourage efficient use of the facilities. The minimum amount of time that can be booked for media projects is one hour.

Please note that if scanning does overrun but another group has booked the scanner immediately afterward, the scanning must stop on time and you must clear the area to allow the scheduled group to proceed with their scanning. Research always has top priority.

Bookings can be canceled up to 48 hours in advance with no charge. After that time, however, you will be billed for the scanning hours regardless of whether they are used or not. The only exception to this would be if there were a problem with our facilities such as a scanner fault that prevented you from scanning. In that case, you would not be charged for the time and it could be rescheduled.


Like any other scanning, you must have appropriate ethics permission approved in advance for your media work. This will need to be provided to BUCNI in order to create a project for scheduling the time.


Media work often involves additional safety risks beyond normal scanning, particularly with the extra equipment (e.g. cameras, lights, sound equipment) and additional people involved. As a result, only operators who have been approved for media work are allowed to run the scanner. As always, the operator is responsible for the safety of all the individuals, including the researchers. Please liaise with Mike Scopa about scanner operators who are approved for media work.

All of the people involved in the scanning need to go through the full safety screening procedures, including filling out the full MRI safety screening form. Please note that sometimes presenters may not wish to provide private contact information such as their address or phone numbers - this is fine. If they are concerned about privacy then they can leave this information off the form as long as we have contact information for the director/producer in case we need to make contact, e.g. in the event of an unexpected abnormality on their scan.

In addition, it is the responsibility of the operator to fully explain the safety risks involved to the parties coming into the control room or scanner suite. External (i.e. non-BUCNI) equipment is not safe in the scanner suite! This includes video cameras, still cameras, microphones, radio microphones, digital tapes, extra lighting, still cameras, etc.

Facilities and Permissions

Please note: booking BUCNI hours for media use means that you have access to the reception area, the control room, and the scanner suite for the booked time only. Any additional time will be billed as laid out above.

In addition, many TV companies require a signature from a local representative giving permission to use the facilities for filming. If this is the case, please contact Winnie Yeh for a signature.


Hopefully, this document provides the majority of the information you need for doing your media work at BUCNI. Some of the policy is fairly strict but this is to ensure adequate access to the facilities as well as to maintain the safety of all involved. Our procedures and policies are intended to facilitate public outreach efforts as much as possible, by comparison, this kind of work is banned entirely at some other research centres. Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

The pdf version of the media policy can be found here.