Anti-doping research

Multidisciplinary research is an essential tool for the ongoing development of anti-doping activities. The aim of FINCIS’ activities focusing on anti-doping research is to gain new information and insight of the global state of anti-doping research, creating a foundation and grounds for further research measures in Finland. 

Evaluation of anti-doping activities 

FINCIS has carried out a long and wide-ranging evaluation of the functioning of anti-doping in connection with supervision and testing. Various stakeholder questionnaires and surveys collect information from sports federations and athletes, for example, to evaluate and develop FINCIS’ anti-doping activities.

Three athlete surveys are conducted on tested athletes each year. The purpose of the athlete survey is to investigate athletes’ satisfaction with doping control and their attitudes towards doping and anti-doping work. Athletes in the testing pool are asked to fill in a feedback survey every second year. Based on the survey, FINCIS develops its testing pool management and athlete co-operation. In addition, FINCIS co-operates in surveys commissioned by other parties, such as the coach survey commissioned by the Research Institute for Olympic Sports (KIHU).

Evaluation of anti-doping programmes of sports organisations

FINCIS regularly evaluates the anti-doping programmes of sports organisations and their implementation. According to Finland’s Anti-Doping Code, all organisations to which the rules are applied must have a valid anti-doping programme in place and they must implement it as part of their operations. The programmes and their implementation have an effect on government subsidies.

WADA and its research activities

The goal of the World Anti-Doping Agency WADA is a world in which all athletes compete in a clean sporting environment. WADA is a strong defender of ethical sports and guarantees athletes’ legal protection. WADA’s main tasks also include an extensive international research programme aimed to help harmonise global anti-doping activities. 

Since 2001, WADA has earmarked $80 million for research. WADA is committed to increasing the research of prohibited substances and methods as well as the development of new and improved detection methods. WADA is also in charge of investigating new doping threats, such as gene doping.

For research in this field, WADA organises an annual call for applications for research funding. Researchers from all over the world present their research projects on topics prioritised by the WADA Health, Medical and Research Committee.

In addition to the research grant programme, funding may be granted as part of Target research or a reactive research programme. These are targeted at urgent doping research topics specified by WADA, such as the detection of emerging doping agents or research projects focusing on preventing the use and benefits of doping in sports. 

Since 2001, WADA has financed various projects in the following areas:

  • Compounds/Methods Enhancing Growth;
  • Compounds/Methods Enhancing Oxygen Delivery;
  • Exogenous and Endogenous Anabolic Steroids;
  • Detection of prohibited substances/methods: classic methodologies e.g. chromatographic, immunological and biochemical;
  • Gene and Cellular Technologies applied to Sports;
  • Identification and detection of substances with doping potential;
  • Pharmacology of prohibited substances.