• Over £1.2 million awarded to research projects through annual research funding call since 2015
• £500,000 awarded to research projects in 2021 cycle alone
• Four of the five projects funded through 2021 cycle focus specifically on advancing player welfare in women's rugby
World Rugby has launched its 2022 call for applications to fund research projects with the aim of promoting evidence-based enhancements in player welfare priority areas, including concussion.
Supporting its ambition to make the game as accessible to the widest-possible participation base, the international federation is committed to progressing player welfare standards guided by scientific research. Since 2015, World Rugby has awarded more than £1.2 million to fund bespoke research projects by independent bodies, helping to advance its evidence-based approach to injury prevention, management and education. Almost half of this funding, £500,000, was awarded in the past year.
Some recent examples of projects that World Rugby have committed to funding include:
• The health benefits and impact of playing high-level rugby
• Concussion attitudes and prevention practices in developing rugby nations
• Injury risks and efficacy of preventive strategies in mixed-ability rugby
• Injury surveillance in community adult and youth rugby
• Sources of off-season psychological and physical recovery in professional rugby players
• Implementation effectiveness of a concussion management pathway in community rugby
In 2021 World Rugby called for projects with a focus on the women’s game and next month will announce a new wave of focused research projects in line with both World Rugby’s six point strategy on player welfare and action plan for the women’s game.
The topics where World Rugby is most interested in supporting research are:
• Injury surveillance and prevention at all levels of the game
• Player welfare research in women's rugby
• Transgender participation
• Mental health and substance abuse
• Long-term health consequences of rugby participation
Applications for funding can be made via World Rugby’s funding application portal and must be received by 29 April to be considered for the 2022 cycle. Interested applicants should review the guidance provided on applying to World Rugby for funding here.
Once proposals are received, they are reviewed for completeness and for adherence to our priority areas. Complete proposals are then sent for review by the Scientific Committee, which is made up of independent academic experts. Members who may have a conflict of interest per the committee’s terms of reference, will be recused from further assessment and discussion of the proposal. Proposals are then assessed on their scientific merit and their ability to contribute to World Rugby’s Player Welfare mandates before being recommended to World Rugby’s Internal Risk Management Committee for approval.
Chief Executive of World Rugby, Alan Gilpin said: “We’ve always said that World Rugby’s approach to player welfare will be based on evidence. However we won’t stand still and we have never been prepared to sit and wait for research to arrive, World Rugby has a firm and longstanding commitment to putting money behind projects which will help us improve the game.
“At the beginning of this year World Rugby committed to making 2022 the year of player welfare for rugby. This continued financial backing shows our promises will always amount to real action when it comes to player welfare in our game."