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Table of contents

  1. Installation
    1. Docker
    2. Singularity
  2. Usage
    1. Docker
    2. Singularity/Storrs HPC
      1. Resource limits and parallelization
    3. Customization
  3. Results
  4. Troubleshooting
    1. No space left on device
      1. Symptoms
      2. Diagnosis
      3. Treatment

MRIQC is a BIDS-App for quality control of fMRI and anatomical data focused on calculating image quality metrics (IQMs) as part of a scan quality assessment workflow. MRIQC does not return processed data; try fmriprep for getting preprocessed data.

Warning: this guide is only a summary of how MRIQC can be used. Always check the official documentation for the latest usage information.



Pull the latest version of the mriqc container from Docker Hub:

docker pull poldracklab/mriqc:latest


To use MRIQC on the Storrs HPC, connect to a login node:


Then load the singularity module and pull the image from Docker Hub:

module load singularity
singularity pull --name mriqc_latest.sif docker://poldracklab/mriqc:latest

This will create a Singularity image named mriqc_latest.sif in your current directory.


Since MRIQC is a BIDS-App, you must first organize your MRI data into a BIDS file hierarchy. Refer to the BIDS section of this guide for details.

The remaining steps assume you have a BIDS directory <bids_dir> and have created an output directory <output_dir> where the MRIQC outputs will be saved. You must replace <bids_dir> and <output_dir> with the corresponding absolute paths (beginning with /) in the following commands.

MRIQC will generate reports for each participant in your dataset, as well as a group-level report that summarizes the quality metric statistics in your sample.

To run MRIQC on a single participant and regenerate the group level report, run one of the commands below, replacing <SUBJECT> with the participant ID to run.


docker run -it --rm -v <bids_dir>:/data:ro -v <output_dir>:/out \
poldracklab/mriqc:latest \
/data /out participant \
--participant_label <SUBJECT>

docker run -it --rm -v <bids_dir>:/data:ro -v <output_dir>:/out \
poldracklab/mriqc:latest \
/data /out group

Singularity/Storrs HPC

Where <mriqc_latest.sif> is the full path to the image you created above, add the following line to your SLURM file:

module load singularity
singularity run --cleanenv --bind <bids_dir>:/data --bind <output_dir>:/out \
<mriqc_latest.sif> \
/data /out participant \
--participant_label <SUBJECT>

singularity run --cleanenv --bind <bids_dir>:/data --bind <output_dir>:/out \
<mriqc_latest.sif> \
/data /out group

Note the use of --cleanenv to sanitize environment variables from the host. Without this, FSL will not work.

Resource limits and parallelization

As a rough guide, mriqc will use about 1GB of memory and 1 hour of walltime per fMRI run per participant, but resource requirements may be higher or lower depending on the length and resolution of your data. mriqc can be speeded up slightly by using multiple processors, set using the --n_procs option. A example SLURM script for one participant might be:

#SBATCH --mail-type=ALL 			# Mail events (NONE, BEGIN, END, FAIL, ALL)
#SBATCH	# Your email address
#SBATCH --nodes=1					# OpenMP requires a single node
#SBATCH --ntasks=1					# Run a single serial task
#SBATCH --cpus-per-task=4
#SBATCH --mem=8gb
#SBATCH --time=04:00:00				# Time limit hh:mm:ss
#SBATCH -e error_%A_%a.log			# Standard error
#SBATCH -o output_%A_%a.log			# Standard output
#SBATCH --job-name=mriqc			# Descriptive job name
#SBATCH --partition=serial            # Use a serial partition 24 cores/7days


module load singularity
singularity run --cleanenv --bind <bids_dir>:/data --bind <output_dir>:/out \
<mriqc_latest.sif> \
/data /out participant \
--participant_label $SUBJECT \
--n_procs 4 --mem_gb 8 \

If you save the code above as, you can then run a specified participant on the cluster with the command

sbatch <SUBJECT>


Refer to the MRIQC documentation for controlling the preprocessing options.


The MRIQC output directory <output_dir> contains the participant and group level quality metrics, and interactive reports in the following file structure:

  • <output_dir>/
    • reports/
      • bold_group.html
      • T1w_group.html
      • T2w_group.html
      • sub-{subj}_task-{task}_run-{run}_bold.html
    • derivatives/
      • sub-{subj}_task-{task}_run-{run}_bold.json
      • sub-{subj}_T1w.json
    • bold.csv
    • T1w.csv
    • T2w.csv

The reports subdirectory contains summary reports for the group (*_group.html) that can be viewed in a web browser. Clicking on a data point will take you to the report for the corresponding participant, or you can review the participant level reports directly.

Image quality metrics (IQMs) are stored in a JSON file for each participant/scan under the derivatives directory. IQMs are adapted from those used in QAP. For more details, see


No space left on device


When pulling the image from Docker Hub using singularity pull --name mriqc_latest.sif docker://poldracklab/mriqc:latest, the process stops with the following error message:

FATAL:   `Unable to pull docker://poldracklab/mriqc:latest: packer failed to pack: While unpacking tmpfs: unpack: error extracting layer: unable to copy: write /tmp/sbuild-721802119/fs/usr/local/miniconda/lib/ no space left on device`


The tmp directory got overloaded with temporary files and ran out of space.


Fix this by specifying the custom temporary and cache directories (you can use the path to your folder on scratch):

export SINGULARITY_TMPDIR=<tmpdir>
export SINGULARITY_CACHEDIR=<cachedir>
singularity pull --name mriqc_latest.sif docker://poldracklab/mriqc:latest