Scottish Medical Imaging

The Scottish Medical Imaging (SMI) Service launched in beta mode on Monday, April 25th, 2022.  

The SMI Service has been set-up to help declutter access to national imaging data for research in Scotland by providing a single user journey for researchers. It will provide information about the imaging data landscape and how to access the data, what timescales are likely to be encountered and the information that a researcher needs to provide to gain access to these data sets.

The SMI Service has been developed and funded by the Interdisciplinary Collaboration for Efficient and Effective Use of Clinical Images in Big Data Health Research Project. 

The Service Catalogue details what is available in our initial release. We would encourage you to review it, decide if your research questions can be answered using this first offering and contact eDRIS to discuss further.

If you require additional capabilities, then please also complete an enquiry form as submitted enquiries are very useful to help eDRIS decide on next stages of development and potential enhancements to the SMI service.


Images generated as part of routine NHS care are extremely useful for a wide variety of research that offers great public benefit.
The Scottish Medical Imaging (SMI) Service has created a database of deidentified images that can be used by researchers who require access to clinical images and metadata for their approved research.

This new national resource will be used to provision de-identified images and associated report data to researchers which, if required, may be linked to other available de-identified datasets.

The SMI database has been created from a copy of the national Picture Archiving & Communication System dataset, to be held in the National Safe Haven. This is located at the Advanced Computing Facility of the University of Edinburgh, operated by Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre (EPCC).

SMI has developed an initial software platform and supporting procedures, that will process routinely collected national images for research purposes.

Obtaining national clinical images for research and linking them to other routinely collected clinical data is challenging because:
• Clinical software is not designed to service research so there is a need to provision the data through a different technical environment.
• There are complex technical problems to adequately anonymise and manage very large datasets.
• There is a complex governance framework.


Initially, a researcher will contact eDRIS and provide requirements of their study on an enquiry form. Once the submitted request has been reviewed and agreed internally in eDRIS, further discussion with the researcher will occur to ascertain final requirements, costing of the study and approximate timescale of provisioning the data.

Once approval has been confirmed from the Public Benefit & Privacy Panel (PBPP), the requested data from the SMI database will be processed through the technical pipeline. The resulting de-identified data will be validated before being released into the National Safe Haven where researcher analysis will occur. 

Please complete an eDRIS SMI new enquiry form outlining your research proposal and email it to our team at Please enter ‘SMI Enquiry’ in the subject field of your email to eDRIS.

SMI Service Catalogue

The SMI Service will develop over time to include all scan modalities from the year 2010. Our initial offering to researchers will include the following:


• Years 2010 to 2017
• Modalities: Computerised Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Positron Emission Tomography (PET), Structured Reports (SRs) 

Data Analytics Environment

• Windows (CPU at least 8 core, 32 GB RAM)
• R + Stata + SPSS + SAS
• CRAN repository
• MS Word and Excel
• microDICOM viewer

Data Science Environment

• Linux
• Researchers can install their own software
• Access to advanced DICOM viewers
• GPU facilities available

Coming Soon

X-Ray modality

The addition of the X-ray modalities (CR = Computed Radiography, DX = Digital Radiography and PR = Panoramic Radiography) to the SMI Service Catalogue will further enhance the options available to researchers when looking to include clinical image data in their research. This modality will mirror the other existing options in having similar periods of data available. Please see the Service Catalogue for details of current available data.

Additional years of clinical image data

It is the intention of the SMI Service to incrementally increase the available years of data. We will in due course have all clinical imaging data taken in NHS Scotland from 2018 up to and including this year. . There are continuing negotiations on receiving an ongoing ingest from the National PACS system to allow almost real time imaging to be available to the research community. Please see the Service Catalogue for the current service offering on years of data available.