Course information

The basics course

This basics course is intended for researchers planning to enter the field of functional MRI and takes place at Utrecht University/UMC Utrecht. We offer a 3-day theoretical introduction into fMRI acquisition, study design, and image analysis. Additionally, a large part of the course will consist of practical data analysis sessions using SPM12, supervised by all participating teachers. The course and the practicals are all presented in English. The introduction course ends with an introduction to advanced topics.


The advanced topics

In addition to the entry-level fMRI analysis course, we offer a 1½ day course with advanced topics, where particiants will learn the basic principles of specific advanced analyses. The afternoon of day 3 will comprise an introduction to the advanced topics, and day-4 will provide parallel hands-on practical sessions, as well as in depth theory on the advanced topic chosen. After day-4, participants should be able to start applying this specific analyses on their own dataset. The parallel advanced topics that will be offered this year: 

Advanced topic 1: Resting state functional connectivity: During the last decades resting state functional connectivity analyses have become popular and are currently widely used. Erno Hermans will give you an introduction in resting state methodology (e.g. ICA, seed analysis) and provide a practical session which will help to start analysing your resting state data.

Advanced topic 2: Multi-voxel-pattern analysis: Multi-voxel-pattern analysis (MVPA), also referred to as machine learning, or decoding, allows rearchers to 'read' brain states from patterns of activation. This technique has rapidly grown in popularity in recent years. This practical session, given by Tjerk Guetteling and Bas Neggers, will provide insights in how to start with MVPA. 

Advanced topic 3: Surface based analysis: Surface based analysis allows to make and transform 3D brain models e.g. for flatmapping. Mathijs Raemaekers will give you an introduction with focus on practical application (e.g. freesurfer pipeline).


Course venue

The course venue is located in Utrecht in a lush convention center and Hotel, named "Hotel Mitland". For details and directions, click here.


Expected background of participants

The intended audience has a background in neuroscience, biology, psychology, physics, medicine, computer science or a related field. No experience in fMRI analysis is required. Suggestions for how to prepare can be found here. We do expect you have a basic knowledge on how to operate a modern PC with a common user interface such as Windows, Macintosh or Linux, but programming skills are not required.


Theoretical Lectures

The course will feature a series of theoretical lectures that together cover all the basics of fMRI. Topics covered will include basic MR physics and image acquisition, (spatial) pre-processing of (f)MRI data, design and modeling using General Linear Models, and statistical inferential procedures. These lectures will provide students with the theoretical background knowledge required to complete the practical sessions. The advanced topics are introduced on day-3 and will provide background information for day-4 parallel practical sessions.


Practical Sessions

The basics and advanced cours both include highly interactive practical sessions, where students will acquire hands-on experience in data-analysis, mostly using SPM12. Different datasets will be provided that together cover a wide range of acquisition techniques, experimental designs, and statistical methods. The assignments will range from easy walk-throughs for beginners to challenging brainteasers for the most ambitious students. SPM12 is developed and maintained at the department of Prof. Dr. Karl Friston from the Functional Imaging Laboratory (The Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience, University College London) and they kindly provide access to the open-source package on their website for everyone to use. The advanced topics can require additional open-source software, which will be provided for installation before course. For the preliminary full course program, click here.


Important note: To participate in the practical sessions, please note that you are yourself responsible for bringing a laptop and Matlab with a valid license installed! We can not arrange that for you. Most imaging institutes have matlab licenses from The Mathworks available, you need it for your (upcoming) imaging work anyway. Matlab is not free, you need to purchase it. Licensing options are here. Or ask your institutional IT department, chances are good they have it available for you.


Participation and registration

The maximum number of participants is limited to about 50 participants for the basic three day course, and about 25 for each of the advanced parallel sessions.

You can register and pay online here. Registration is possible for the full course (4 days), the basics course (3 days), or only for the advanced topics (1½ days). See below for course fees (not that they exclude 21% VAT, that you might get refunded in your home country). We accept IDEAL and Credit Card payments.

When registering, your registration will be confirmed immediately.


Course fees

   Public academic insititution  participants  Business  participants
 Full course (4 days: basics  and  advanced topics)  € 700,-  € 1350,-
 Basics course (3 days)  € 550,-  € 1100,-
 Advanced topics (1 1/2 day)  € 280,-  €   400,-

*all prices exclude 21% VAT

Important: please note our cancellation policy:

  • Cancellation up to 14 days after booking and paying the event: the paid amount can be refunded in full.
  • Cancellation up to 6 weeks prior to the date the course starts: the paid amount can be refunded minus a cancellation fee of 50 €.
  • Cancellation up to 1 week prior to the date the course starts: 50% of the paid amount can be refunded.
  • Cancellation after 1 week prior to the date the course starts: the paid amount cannot be refunded.

Refund can only take place through a regular wire transfer to a bank account indicated by the customer who booked the event. For further details on our cancellation policy, see our terms and conditions. We have expenses related to every booking in advance of the course, and will be liable for these expenses even when you need to cancel your participation. We therefor count on your understanding in relation to the above cancellation fees. 

When you have additional questions, please contact and we will get back to you.

Warm regards, The organizing committee


Jorinde Timmer (coordinator)
Bas Neggers (chair)
Tjerk Gutteling (MVPA)
Maarten Mennes (Resting state)
Mathijs Raemaekers (Surface based analysis)