World Rugby has today launched its 2023 call for applications to fund research projects with the aim of promoting evidence-based enhancements in player welfare priority areas, including concussion. Research funded by World Rugby has seen the game benefit from a greater breadth of sport specific research into player welfare than any other sport.

The international federation is committed to funding rugby specific medical and scientific research as part of its six-point plan on player welfare to make the sport the most progressive in the world in this area.

Since 2015, World Rugby has awarded more than £1.4 million to fund bespoke research projects by independent bodies, helping to advance its evidence-based approach to injury prevention, management and education.

Tenders for these projects will be released as they are identified.

Applications for funding can be made via World Rugby’s funding application portal and must be received by 4 April, 2023 to be considered for the 2023 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 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. 

World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin said: “Robust scientific and medical evidence is vital to advancing player welfare within rugby. World Rugby is a leader in this area and we will never stand still which why, rather than waiting for research to fall into our laps, we are continuing to invest in new studies, specific to our sport, which enhance our understanding. 

“World Rugby wants to work alongside the scientific and medical community to ensure that our game is at the cutting edge of player welfare. In opening the 2023 application process for new research funding we are seeking partners that will help broaden our understanding of what it means to play rugby today and how we need to evolve to protect the rugby of tomorrow.”