Research Priorities

The PCC has supported world-class research since 2008, funding over $35.6 million dollars to support novel anti-doping scientific research. Research through grants, fellowships, micro-grants, and project working groups are the foundation of the PCC and translating research outcomes into improvements in doping detection and deterrence are the focus of everyday business activity. The PCC-supported research contributes to a clean sport movement in addressing doping’s root causes and ultimately decreasing the use of performance-enhancing drugs by all participants in all sports at all levels of play.

With an emphasis on original work that focuses on improving existing analytical methods for detecting prohibited substances and methods, developing new analytical methods to test for substances and methods not currently detectable, and discovering cost-​effective and more athlete-friendly approaches for testing widely abused substances across all levels of sport, the following areas of investigation reflect the PCC’s current research priorities:

  • 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)[1].

  • 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[2].

    [1] PCC can be contacted to obtain a list of higher priority substances, subject to change.

    [2] As access to specific elite athlete populations are a critical component of successful social science research, applicants should consult with relevant sport organizations, anti-doping agencies, or others to have a commitment in principle to collaborate on such projects before submitting an application. Letters of support are critical.

Does your area of research meet our priorities? 

Still not sure your research will be a good fit?