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World Rugby Research Strategy Overview

World Rugby has funded research into the forces present on each player in the scrum in an effort to minimise risk of injury and protect player welfare.

World Rugby has established a World Rugby Research Strategy to provide structure and support to the identification and implementation of World Rugby research priorities. The strategy involves the input of four groups:

The Medicine, Science and Research Group was established by World Rugby to investigate and recommend areas of research considered to be important from a World Rugby and the sport of Rugby perspective. The Group contains members who represent World Rugby, Unions and Players and provide external expertise in the area of research. The Group meet regularly to discuss issues pertaining to World Rugby Research Strategy and to identify research priorities for World Rugby.

Members of the MSRG, at 1 January 2015, and their involvement in the group are (alphabetically):

The MSRG submit their research priorities to World Rugby Internal Risk Management Group (IRMG) who approve and rank the priorities. The IRMG may also identify alternate business risk priorities for research and inform the MSRG of these.

The Scientific Committee was established by World Rugby to assess and recommend research submissions for funding or further action and also to encourage research institutes to perform projects that have been identified as priorities by the MSRG.

Members of the SciCom, at 1 January 2015, are:

The World Rugby Institutional Ethics Committee was established to provide ethical oversight of research being undertaken by and on behalf of World Rugby. Its aim is to protect and maintain the health, safety and rights of all participants in Rugby-related research, which World Rugby is involved in, through the promotion of proper standards of research involving human participants.

Where appropriate, projects recommended for support by the SciCom must obtain ethical approval from an external institution or if appropriate from the World rugby IEC. This ethical approval will be required prior to World Rugby providing any financial support.

Applications for ethical approval by the IEC should be made on the standard form included below. Applications will be emailed to all members of the IEC and  a time frame identified within which opinions re approval are to be made to the Committee Chair. The decision will be one of the following options:

Each Committee member is required to provide a response to each submission. Acceptances with revisions must provide suggestions as to the changes that should be made, while rejections should provide a full explanation of the reasons for the rejection.

If a Committee member feels that they are not qualified to comment on particular aspects of the proposal then they may choose to only provide a decision on those aspects they feel they have the necessary expertise in.

At any time during this consultation process, any member can request a meeting of the Committee to discuss collectively the submission. This meeting should take place within 10 working days of the request.

For proposals to be accepted there must be a consensus agreement by the Committee members. In instances where the decision of the Committee is to accept the proposal with revisions, the applicant may resubmit the application with whatever changes they deem appropriate.

The members of World Rugby Institutional Ethics Committee, at 1 January 2015, are (alphabetically):

In some instances, currently only applicable to ongoing Injury Surveillance Studies, proposed projects which constitute a new iteration of a project from one time period (e.g. a season or calendar year) to another, can short-cut the process. In such instances, as defined by the MSRG, the project can go straight to the ethical approval stage. This is dependent on no material changes being made to the focus or methodology of the project from its previously approved iteration.

Research conducted by World Rugby led to a global trial of Rugby Goggles, ensuring maximum inclusion with minimum risk for players needing corrective lenses.

The World Rugby Research Unit was established by World Rugby to coordinate and manage both internal and external World Rugby Research Projects. The responsibilities of this Unit will depend on whether the research is being undertaken internally or externally.

If internal research is being undertaken, the WRRU will be responsible for:

If external research is undertaken the Research Project Coordinator will be responsible for monitoring the institution or identified researchers from a performance delivery and financial control perspective.

Each specific project will have a specific project group assigned, the members of this group will include (as at July 1st 2014):

The Research Project Coordinator will also be responsible for providing progress reports to the Medicine, Science and Research Group covering both internal and external research.

Membership of all the groups which contribute to World Rugby Research Strategy will be reviewed annually to ensure that the most relevant people are involved in all stages of the project. Those holding membership as a direct result of their role within World Rugby, who leave these roles will be replaced by the person replacing them in their role or by a suitably qualified person if the role is discontinued.

Figure 1 - Data flow for World Rugby Research Strategy

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