WADA launches call for proposals for 2021 Social Science Research Grant Program

Today, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) launches a call for proposals for its 2021 Social Science Research (SSR) Grant Program; for which we kindly ask Expressions of Interest (EOI) to be received via the Agency’s WADAGrants platform, no later than 22 November 2020 (23:59 GMT). 

As WADA announced on 10 June 2020, the Agency delayed its call for proposals by six months in order to better accommodate the academic community in light of COVID-19. WADA took advantage of this delay to further develop its 2020-2024 SSR Strategy, which has since been approved by the Agency’s Executive Committee (ExCo) and published on 2 October. The SSR Strategy sets out a framework for supporting WADA’s recently announced Five-Year Strategic Plan by focusing on impactful research.

WADA’s Education Committee is tasked with overseeing SSR in the field of anti-doping, including the work undertaken by the Agency’s Social Science Review Panel. As part of the implementation of the SSR Strategy, the Social Science Research Grant Program (Grant Program) has been restructured following a review by the Panel and the Agency’s Education Department.

While a full overview of the restructured Grant Program, including the application process and research priorities that will guide WADA’s investment decisions, is available in the Overview and Guidance for Applicants document, please note the following key changes:

  1. There is now a ‘two-stage’ application process: The first stage requires applicants to submit an EOI regarding their proposed project by 22 November 2020 (23:59 GMT). Then, following review of the EOIs by the Education Department and the Social Science Review Panel, projects meeting the initial criteria will be invited to complete a full application by 31 January 2021.
  2. There are now ‘three tiers of investment’: The Grant Program now has three distinct tiers of investment, which are defined by the scale and scope of the research project as outlined in the Overview and Guidance for Applicants document.

While WADA welcomes EOIs in relation to any of the 12 SSR priorities, which were recently approved by WADA’s Education Committee and are fully described within the Overview and Guidance for Applicants document, for the 2021 Grant Program, the Agency is particularly interested in the following six priorities:

  1. Athlete pathway and athlete experience
  2. Clean Sport behaviors
  3. Experience of athlete support personnel in anti-doping
  4. The role and influence of athlete support personnel
  5. Effectiveness of anti-doping
  6. Horizon scanning (learnings from other sectors/industries that can be applied to Clean Sport)

Applicants who wish to submit EOIs for projects outside of WADA’s SSR priorities may do so; although, in order to be considered, they must demonstrate innovation and/or that they can positively impact Clean Sport.

The Education Committee will review the recommendations from the Social Science Review Panel for WADA-funded research projects in April 2021, prior to seeking formal approval from WADA’s ExCo in May 2021; after which, applicants will be notified.

For further information regarding the 2021 Grant Program, please refer to the Overview and Guidance for Applicants and FAQ section of the WADAGrants platform; or, contact the Agency’s Education Department at

Interested parties may also wish to view the recent WADA webinar entitled: The Revised Social Science Research Grant Program which was presented by members of WADA’s Education Department on 8 October 2020.