We propose a novel, ecient approach for obtaining high-quality experimental designs for event-related functional magnetic resonance imaging (ER-fMRI). Our approach combines a greedy hillclimbing algorithm and a cyclic permutation method. When searching for optimal ER-fMRI designs, the proposed approach focuses only on a promising restricted class of designs with equal frequency of occurrence across stimulus types. The computational time is signicantly reduced. We also demonstrate that our proposed approach is very ecient in achieving designs that are robust against mis-specication of the error autocorrelation.