Research

Since 2001, we have committed more than US$88 million to helping researchers around the world develop breakthroughs in anti-doping science. These grants are critical because they increase the volume of research dedicated to developing new and improved detection methods for performance-enhancing substances and methods and attract researchers with fresh ways of thinking.

To this end, WADA issues a call for research proposals each year. Scientists from around the world submit proposals addressing the research topics prioritized by WADA's Health, Medical and Research Committee.

In addition to the regular Research Grant Program, urgent doping research topics identified by WADA (e.g. detection of emerging doping substances) or research projects of high interest in protecting clean sport presented outside the regular program application process, may receive funding as part of the Target Research or Reactive Research Programs, respectively.

2023 Call for Proposals

Consult the scientific research topics in the 2023 call for proposals and the application procedure on WADAGrants.

The application deadline for the 2023 call for proposals is 22 March 2023 at 23:55 GMT. For further information, please contact our Science & Medicine Department.

Contact the department via email

Special Topics for Scientific Research Funding

To complement the annual call for proposals, WADA invites researchers to submit expressions of interest (EOI) throughout the year using the WADA Grants platform.

Open topics are listed here, with links to more detailed requests for applications where relevant. 

As of December 2022, EOIs are invited on the following topics: 

1. Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF) activating agents in dried blood spot (DBS) samples – EOIs due by 10 February 2023 

  • Eligible projects should  

    • evaluate the stability of HIF activating agents in DBS samples; and 

    • include an administration study of HIF activating agents and the comparison of their stability in DBS and urine samples, generating data to support the definition of a Minimum Required Performance Level (MRPL) in DBS samples.  

2. Detection of small peptides in DBS samples – EOIs due by 10 February 2023 

  • Eligible projects should  

    • validate an analytical method for the detection of small peptides (e.g., growth hormone-releasing peptides) in DBS samples, based on previous published work;  

    • focus on small peptides known to be unstable in urine samples; and  

    • support the establishment of a DBS 'small peptides' analytical menu, including proposed MRPLs that can be transferred and implemented in a harmonized manner across WADA-accredited laboratories. 

EOIs that are aligned with the specified research priorities and submitted by teams with relevant expertise will be invited to submit full applications on the WADAGrants platform, including complete project descriptions. Where applicable, additional guidance from subject experts may be provided to inform applications from eligible applicant teams. 

The list of open topics is updated periodically to add high-priority special research topics. Some topics are only open for a limited time and are closed on a specific date or once enough applicant teams have been identified. 

Funded Research Projects

Since 2001, WADA has funded projects in the following areas:

  1. Compounds/Methods enhancing growth
  2. Compounds/Methods enhancing oxygen delivery
  3. Exogenous and endogenous anabolic steroids
  4. Detection of prohibited substances/methods: classic methodologies e.g. chromatographic, immunological and biochemical
  5. Gene and cellular technologies applied to sports
  6. Identification and detection of substances with doping potential
  7. Pharmacology of prohibited substances

View the complete list of funded research projects since 2001.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by a panel of three to four independent external experts who submit their evaluations and recommendations to WADA's Health, Medical and Research Committee.

In September, the Health, Medical and Research Committee reviews the grant applications and experts' evaluations and selects the projects to be funded based on scientific quality and relevance to WADA's goals. The selected projects are presented to WADA’s Executive Committee for approval.

Before final approval, grant applications undergo an independent ethical review.