Conventional submerged membrane bioreactors (MBRs) rely on the coarse bubbles aeration to generate shear at the liquid membrane interface to limit membrane fouling. Unfortunately, it is a very energy consuming method, still often resulting in a rapid decrease of membrane permeability and consequently in higher expenses. In this paper, the feasibility of a novel magnetically induced membrane vibration (MMV) system was studied in a labscale MBR treating synthetic wastewater. The effects on membrane fouling of applied electrical power of different operation strategies, of membrane flux and of the presence of multiple membranes on one vibrating engine on membrane fouling were investigated. The filtration performance was evaluated by determining the filtration resistance profiles and critical flux. The results showed clear advantages of the vibrating system over conventional MBR processes by ensuring higher fluxes at lower fouling rates. Intermittent vibration was found a promising strategy for both efficient fouling control and significant energy saving. The optimised MMV system is presumed to lead to significant energy and cost reduction in up-scaled MBR operations. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.