WADA announces 18 research projects funded as part of Agency’s 2021 Social Science Research Grant Program

USD 475,000 for research projects in 14 countries, across five continents

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) is pleased to publish detail regarding the 18 Social Science Research projects which were approved by WADA’s Executive Committee (ExCo) in May 2021 for a total of USD 475,000 in funding as part of the Agency’s 2021 Social Science Research Grant Program.

Approval of these projects followed a robust review process conducted by WADA’s Social Science Research Expert Advisory Group, which included a technical analysis of each project and recommendations from a peer review process. Thereafter, the Social Science Research Expert Advisory Group presented its analysis and funding recommendations to the Agency’s Education Committee, which made final recommendations to the ExCo in May.  Following ExCo approval, ethics reviews were carried out and agreements have been advanced such that the Agency is now able to provide further detail and proceed.

WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli said: “WADA congratulates the project applicants that were successful in being granted funding as part of our 2021 Social Science Research Grant Program. We look forward to the research outcomes. Ultimately, WADA’s goal is to invest in impactful research that increases our understanding of the behaviors we are seeking to reinforce or prevent vis-à-vis doping in sport. With this, we improve WADA’s ability, and the global anti-doping community’s capability, to develop effective policies and practices that enhance the sporting experience for all.

WADA Director of Education, Amanda Hudson, said: “With the revisions to the Social Science Research Grant Program that we implemented for this annual cycle, and our new Social Science Research Strategy that was launched in October 2020, we are already making a difference to increase the visibility of social science research; particularly, in regions that have not typically engaged with WADA’s Grant Program. For 2021, the research projects cover 14 countries across five continents, with 72% of the projects being conducted in countries that have traditionally received less research funding. 

“This is also the highest number of projects to ever be funded by WADA in a single annual cycle of the Social Science Research Grant Program; the most countries that will receive funding; and the largest total sum of money awarded at USD 475,000.”

The revisions to WADA’s Social Science Research Grant Program, which are outlined below, are in line with WADA’s Social Science Research Strategy for 2020-2024, which sets out a framework for supporting WADA’s 2020-2024 Strategic Plan by focusing on impactful research.

  1. A two-stage application process for larger research projects, which allows for an initial Expression of Interest’ form to be submitted for consideration and review before a project is approved to progress to the full application stage.
  2. Three tiers of funding which are defined by the scale and scope of the research project.
    Projects in tiers one and two are subject to the two-stage application process above, while smaller tier three projects need only submit a full application.
  3. Defined research priorities that are of interest to WADA which, for 2021, included: 
  • Athlete pathway and athlete experience
  • Clean Sport behaviors
  • Experience of athlete support personnel in anti-doping
  • The role and influence of athlete support personnel
  • Effectiveness of anti-doping
  • Horizon scanning (learnings from other sectors/industries that can be applied to Clean Sport)

For further information regarding WADA’s Social Science Research Strategy, or the Agency’s Social Science Research Grants Program, please visit the Social Science Research section on WADA’s website or contact WADA’s Education Department at

Please note that WADA’s Call for Applications for its 2022 Social Science Research Grant Program will be launched in October 2021.