World Rugby is launching a call to universities, medical groups and other bodies for applications to fund research projects with the aim of promoting evidence-based enhancements in player welfare and medical practices across rugby.

With an emphasis on player welfare, proposals are sought for projects concerned with concussion, injury, anti-doping, and playing surfaces, which have all been identified as priority areas for research by members of World Rugby’s Medicine, Science, and Research Group.

Research projects supported by World Rugby since the initiation of the funding programme in 2015 include:

  • The impact of concussion on subsequent injury risk in rugby players
  • Symptoms of common mental disorders among professional rugby players
  • Assessment of a Y-Balance test to assist with concussion identification
  • Injury surveillance in community-level adult and youth rugby

Over GBP £625,000 has been committed by World Rugby to supporting research projects since 2015, as part of its wider policy to reinvest Rugby World Cup revenues back into the game. World Rugby is investing GBP £266 million at all levels of the game between 2016 and 2019, eclipsing the previous four-year cycle by 38 per cent.

World Rugby Head of Technical Services Mark Harrington said:
“We are continually exploring every available avenue to enhance player welfare, which is always our number-one priority. The research community can play a vital role in informing and shaping the future of the game and this funding programme represents an excellent opportunity to gather further evidence-based research that helps deliver enhancements to player welfare and medical practices throughout all levels of the sport.”

To simplify the application process World Rugby has launched an online portal for research proposal submissions. Applicants can submit and track the progress of their proposal throughout the review process. The online portal will open on 14 May and proposals can be submitted until 8 June 2018.

Further information about World Rugby’s research funding principles and priorities, and terms and conditions can be found online at