World Anti-Doping Agency – New Research Strategy and Social Science Grants Call

To support the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA’s) research focus, the new WADA Social Science Research Strategy 2020-2024 (SSR Strategy) sets the scene for a new and expanded Social Science Research Program (SSRP) that is more proactive and strategic in its approach. The SSR Strategy aims to maximise benefits for WADA stakeholders and address challenges within the field of social science research.

A core aim of the SSRP is to invest in social science research to maintain and increase the understanding of athlete behaviours that WADA is seeking to reinforce or prevent, alongside the social and environment factors that influence athlete behaviours. Such understanding will improve WADA’s and the global clean sport community’s ability to develop effective policies and programmes, thereby enhancing the sporting experience for all.

WADA’s Social Science Research Grant Program has been the main mechanism to fund social science research since 2005. The development of the SSR Strategy expands the scope of social science research activities, with the Grant Program being one key initiative. To support the implementation of the SSR Strategy, the Grant Program has been revised with effect from October 2020.

Grant applications are welcome in relation to any of the 12 SSR priorities, however, WADA is particularly interested in the following six priorities:

Athlete pathway and athlete experience – What factors contribute to doping vulnerability and what factors are protective at each stage of the athlete pathway? How do athletes experience the anti-doping system?

Clean sport behaviours – What are the behaviours that contribute to clean sport?

Experience of athlete support personnel (ASP) in anti-doping – How do ASP experience anti-doping and how does that interact with their role in clean sport?

The role and influence of athlete support personnel – What role and influence do ASP have on clean sport behaviours and doping vulnerability at each stage of the athlete pathway?

Effectiveness of anti-doping – What are the components and principles of education programmes and interventions that will maximise the development of clean sport behaviours?

Horizon scanning – What strategies and learning from other industries/sectors can be applied to clean sport/anti-doping?

Applicants who wish to submit proposals for projects outside of WADA’s SSR priorities may do so, although in order to be considered they must demonstrate innovation and/or how they will positively impact clean sport.

Applications are invited from organisations of all types (universities, businesses, not for profit organisations etc) and based in any country.

Grants are available in three distinct tiers of investment. The tier is defined by the scale and scope of the research project. The tiers and grant levels are:

Tier 1: Providing an evidence base to inform international anti-doping policy and practice, and facilitating international research exchange across academic disciplines – grants of between $75,000 and $150,000.

Tier 2: Contributing to programme or intervention development or improvement at national level or within a single sport to support the prevention of doping – grants of between $20,000 and $75,000.

Tier 3: Investing in smaller scale research projects to pilot or examine the viability of interventions, particularly projects led by early career researchers or targetting under-funded regions – grants of up to $20,000.

Investment Tiers 1 and 2 follow a new two-stage application process. The first stage requires applicants to submit an Expression of Interest (EoI). Tier 1 and 2 projects that meet the initial criteria will be invited to submit a full application (stage two). Tier 3 projects are only required to submit an EoI. The key dates are:

Expression of Interest submission deadline (for Tiers 1 and 2): 22 November 2020

Invited full application deadline (for Tiers 1 and 2): 31 January 2021

Expression of Interest submission deadline (for Tier 3): 31 January 2021

Announcement of successful grant applicants: May 2021

Submissions should be made using the WADA online grants platform.

More information about this research funding opportunity and the application process is available on the RESEARCHconnect funding information platform. RESEARCHconnect provides up-to-the minute content, insight and analysis on research funding news and policy. To find out more about how RESEARCHconnect can keep you in the know, and subscription fees, contact us today.