At the PCC, we recognize that applying for grants is a time consuming and arduous process. Despite this, not all applications are fruitful. As the premier anti-doping research collaborative, the PCC has assessed hundreds of grant applications and noticed commonalities between rejected submissions.

The PCC would like to address these commonalities and provide some tips for researchers seeking funding. This blog marks the first in a series designed to increase application success rate.

The PCC’s first tip:

Ensure your research aligns with the PCC Mission.

The PCC develops and updates research priorities based on the expert input of our Scientific Advisory Board and stakeholders. These priorities reflect pervasive challenges in the anti-doping landscape and are a vital guide for funding decisions. It is imperative that applicants highlight how their proposed project contributes to enhanced knowledge within the context of these priorities.

The PCC research priorities are as follows:

  • Developing methods of cost-effective testing to detect and deter the use of prohibited substances and methods.
  • Developing novel testing protocols to detect new or designer substances or methods used to evade detection (e.g., micro-dosing) for doping purposes.
  • Improving existing chromatography-mass spectrometry and other analytical chemistry or biochemical methods to detect particular drugs, ex. GH, IGF-1, EPO, hCG.
  • Developing new analytical methods to detect performance enhancing drugs not currently detectable.
  • Examination of pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics of doping substances through human administration studies examining longitudinal urinary excretion patterns, metabolism, and dose-concentration, including confounding factors that may influence excretion, detection, or performance-enhancing impact. This also includes studies which aim  to differentiate between sources of contamination and doping by identifying novel and discriminate urinary or blood markers or metabolites, or ratios thereof, through well-designed human administration studies.
  • Critical reviews to support interpretation of laboratory data.
  • The application of alternative specimens (ex. oral fluid, dried blood/plasma spots), for testing and analysis.
  • Discovery and validation of specific and sensitive biomarkers in urine and/or blood for the purposes of the Athlete Biological Passport (ABP) that aim to indirectly identify the use of doping substances or methods.
  • Detection of prohibited gene doping, gene editing, gene silencing technologies, as well as the detection of prohibited stem cell therapies.
  • Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other related research that leads to optimization of anti-doping testing programs.
  • Reference material synthesis and certification for WADA-accredited laboratories (new material or replacement of existing material).
  • Development of effective quantitative and qualitative measures of doping deterrence and education through well-designed survey methods applicable to multiple athlete domains and social science research.

To date, the PCC has funded more than 275 research projects which directly contribute to advanced knowledge of doping in sport, ranging from how a particular substance interacts with the body’s natural chemistry to innovative testing methodologies. However, there is still much knowledge to be pursued in order to protect the health and safety of athletes. The PCC would like to encourage scientists from diverse fields to contribute their expertise to the clean sport movement via high-quality research which addresses the above priorities.

The PCC is invested in the success of the researchers we fund and we want to make sure your time is spent as efficiently as possible. Ensuring an understanding of the PCC’s mission and priorities will serve to strengthen grant applications, and increase chances of funding success.

Stay tuned for other tips for applicants through following the PCC blog, Twitter​, Facebook​, Instagram​ , and LinkedIn. ​

The PCC accepts grant applications two times annually: February 1st and August 1st for pre-applications and March 1st and September 1st for full applications. The PCC evaluates micro-grant applications year-round for applications requiring less than $75,000 and six months to complete. Please see our application instructions for detailed information on how to submit a PCC Grant. ​