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Research priorities of international sporting federations and the IOC research centres
  1. Caroline F Finch1,
  2. Scott Talpey1,
  3. Ashley Bradshaw1,
  4. Torbjorn Soligard2,
  5. Lars Engebretsen2,3,4
  1. 1Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP), Federation University Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
  2. 2Medical and Scientific Department, International Olympic Committee, Lausanne, Switzerland
  3. 3Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center (OSTRC), Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  4. 4Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway
  1. Correspondence to Professor Caroline Finch; c.finch{at}


Background/aim To be fully effective, the prevention of injury in sport and promotion of athlete's health needs to be both targeted and underpinned by scientific evidence. This study aimed to identify the research priorities of International Sporting Federation (ISFs) compared to the current research focus of the International Olympic Committee Research Centres (IOC-RCs).

Methods Online survey of ISF Medical Chairpersons (n=22, 69% response) and IOC-RC Directors (n=7, 78% response). Open-ended responses relating to injury/illness priorities and specific athlete targets were thematically coded. Ratings were given of the need for different research types according to the Translating Research into Injury Prevention Practice (TRIPP) Framework stages. Results are presented as the frequency of ISFs and IOC-RCs separately.

Results Both ISFs and IOC-RFs prioritised research into concussion (27%, 72%, respectively), competitive overuse (23%, 43%) and youth (41%, 43%). The ISFs also ranked catastrophic injuries (14%), environmental factors (18%), elite athletes (18%) and Paralympic athletes (14%) as important. The IOC-RCs gave higher priority to preventing respiratory illness (43%), long-term health consequences of injury (43%) and recreational athletes (43%). There was a trend towards ISFs valuing TRIPP stage 5/6 research more highly and for the IOC-RCs to value TRIPP stage 1/2 research.

Conclusions There are clear opportunities to better link the priorities and actions of the ISFs and IOC-RCs, to ensure more effective practice-policy-research partnerships for the benefit of all athletes. Setting a mutually-agreed research agenda will require further active engagement between researchers and broader ISF representatives.

  • Illness
  • Sporting injuries
  • Research
  • Sporting organisation

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  • Contributors The study was conceived and designed by CF. The survey development was led and administered by ST. CFF, TS and LE contributed to the survey design. TS and LE provided the link to the IOC Medical Commission. ST and AB undertook the data management and data analysis. All authors contributed to the interpretation of the data and the writing and/or editing of the manuscript.

  • Funding CF was funded by an NMHRC Principal Research Fellowship (ID: 1058737). ST was funded through a Robert HT Smith Postdoctoral Research Fellowship though Federation University Australia. Aspects of this study were funded through an IOC Research Centres Grant to the Australian Collaboration for Research into Injury in Sport and its Prevention (ACRISP) at Federation University Australia.

  • Competing interests CF and LE are the Director/Deputy Director of two of the research centres invited to participate in this survey.

  • Ethics approval This project was approved by the Federation University Australia Human Research Ethics Committee as A15–068.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement No additional data are available.

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