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Research Strategy

A key part of World Rugby’s strategic goals is continuing to enhance player welfare standards.

World Rugby's Research Strategy

A key part of World Rugby’s strategic goals is continuing to enhance player welfare standards. Scientific research plays a key role in driving player welfare standards because the findings generated from research can help to inform the standards of care players receive across all levels of Rugby. World Rugby’s research strategy was developed to help with identifying and carrying out World Rugby’s player welfare research priorities.

Research interest is expanding in rugby and World Rugby’s research strategy benefits from regular input from multiple stakeholders, including players and coaches, administrators, clinicians, and academics. These stakeholders shape the research strategy by identifying evolving topics to be treated as research priorities, while also playing key roles in seeing research findings translated into best practice.

World Rugby’s Scientific Committee assess and recommend proposals to receive funding, review progress of funded projects and approve completed research projects. Projects that receive approval from the Scientific Committee for funding are also reviewed by World Rugby’s internal Risk Management Group for possible business risks.
The World Rugby Institutional Ethics Committee provides ethical oversight of research being undertaken by and on behalf of World Rugby. The committee aims to protect and maintain the health, safety and rights of all participants in rugby-related research, which World Rugby is involved in, through promoting proper ethical standards of research involving human participants.

As well as external research, World Rugby also operates an internal research programme through the World Rugby Research Unit. The unit designs, undertakes, and reports on research projects that have been identified as priorities. Recent examples of the research undertaken by the unit include testing the use of law changes to reduce concussion risk, and examining World Rugby’s Head Injury Assessment protocol to strengthen diagnostic accuracy.


Player Welfare News
New Zealand v Namibia - Rugby World Cup 2019: Group B

Player Welfare

World Rugby moves to aid the flow of the game by trialling limits on non-playing personnel

The World Rugby Council has approved a global trial limiting the opportunity for non-playing personnel to enter the field of play during a match. Operational for all competitions and stand-alone matches starting after 1 July 2022, the trial aims to improve the flow of matches by reducing unnecessary stoppages without compromising welfare.
Read now on World Rugby
Tue 17 May, 2022
· 3 min read
Player Welfare Videos
Tue 21 June, 2022
"Gold standard" Dr Bob Cantu on elite rugby's new Graduated Return to Play protocols