The Université de Sherbrooke and the World Anti-Doping Agency have created the very first research chair on anti-doping in sport. This chair will help position Quebec as an international pole in the fight against doping and will improve mentalities and practices by filling knowledge gaps in this area thanks to rigorous research. This is the first research chair to receive such significant funding through the World Anti-Doping Agency.
The Research Chair on Anti-Doping in Sport will study the management of the fight against doping in international sport. The chair will explore not only decision-making processes but also the choice of control tests and sanctions and the responsibilities of all stakeholders involved.
The chairholder is Professor David Pavot from the School of Management at the Université de Sherbrooke. His expertise in international law has already been called upon twice by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the chair’s main partner. WADA has therefore joined forces with the Université de Sherbrooke out of its desire to develop research in this field. The chair will launch with an investment of $2.5 million, an amount that could increase through new partnerships in the future.
WADA Director General, Olivier Niggli, said: “WADA is very proud of this partnership that strengthens the Agency’s presence in our host community since 2002; and, reiterates our commitment to Quebec’s research and academic communities. The Université de Sherbrooke is renowned in Canada and internationally for its capacity to create applied research programs and chairs with a variety of partners. We are confident that it is well positioned to bring unique expertise and a perspective to the anti-doping community that is supported by research; and, in so doing, contribute to making Montreal a global center of excellence for anti-doping.ˮ
A research chair with an international scope
The Research Chair on Anti-Doping in Sport is the only chair in international sport management and the only one funded in part by WADA. To fill gaps in knowledge in this field, the chair will pursue five goals:
- Bring together multidisciplinary expertise in the fight against doping in sport.
- Develop theoretical and practical knowledge of anti-doping violations and their international management.
- Identify best government practices in anti-doping by developing a systematic analysis tool.
- Train qualified staff who can enhance the work of organizations that are involved in anti-doping.
- Publish results in the scientific community and communities of practice.
While these goals seem very simple when presented as a list, the lack of data in this field is nevertheless most likely due, in part, to the complexity of the subject and its context.
Professor David Pavot, holder of the Research Chair on Anti-Doping in Sport, explains that “WADA’s environment is made up of international organizations as well as national anti-doping agencies and sports federations… The fight against doping has an impressive number of levels. This association with WADA opens the door to a universe of remarkable depth.”
The chair’s international positioning will lead to extensive applied research. Since David Pavot is affiliated with the School of Management, he will oversee specialists from faculties at UdeS and even other institutions.
Professor François Coderre, Dean of the School of Management, and Vincent Joli-Coeur, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, are both delighted with this announcement: “We are proud to have the support of a major partner like WADA. Their involvement goes beyond philanthropic contributions, and this strategic partnership will let us showcase our expertise internationally as we become a global authority on research on anti-doping in sport and the training of specialists in this field.”
Training effective specialists
This research chair represents a considerable tool in the fight against doping, as the goal is also to train resources and give them tools to address this complex issue. Graduate students will be invited to conduct their research under the chair’s supervision.
Professor Jean-Pierre Perreault, Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies at the Université de Sherbrooke, is thrilled with this chair, whose reach will be international. “The working conditions provided by the chair will attract excellent applicants. This is good news for the world of sport: during and after their studies, students will be more than qualified to help change doping-related attitudes and practices. This is how UdeS will contribute to the fight against doping.”
Communities of practice will also benefit from the knowledge developed through the work of the Research Chair on Anti-Doping in Sport. The chair intends to quickly develop effective communication tools to reach out to the general public and to scientists in Canada and abroad.