Launch of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme 2021/2022

The IOC Olympic Studies Centre (OSC) has launched a new edition of the Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme intended for established researchers engaged in Olympic-related research.

IOC / Catherine Leutenegger
Main objective

To promote advanced research with a humanities or social sciences perspective by established researchers in priority fields of research, which are identified annually by the IOC. For the 2021/2022 edition, the following list of sixteen priority fields of research has been identified dealing with key IOC activity areas:

  1. Analysis of the means and methods implemented by the International Sports Federations and the National Olympic Committees to convey and apply the ethics and integrity rules established by the Olympic Movement, which are the Code of Ethics, the Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance and the Olympic Movement Code on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions.
  2. Athletes at the heart of the Olympic Movement – Opportunities and challenges to strengthen the rights and responsibilities of the athletes.
  3. Barriers and challenges faced by high-performance women coaches and referees in Summer and Winter Olympic Games sports from all continents - Research into the obstacles that women experience, as well as the identification of good practices that serve to attract and retain women as Games sports coaches and referees.
  4. Coaching and mentoring Generation Z athletes - How to coach young elite athletes (age range: 15-18), understand their expectations, develop constructive relationships with them, include values in their training, and identify challenges, skills and strategies to be favoured based on case studies, including various summer and winter sports from different continents.
  5. Contribution of the Olympic Movement, the sports sector and/or the sports development sector to the Sustainable Development Goals – Case studies and analysis of the impact of sports initiatives, especially those organised at local level, and of their inclusion in a human rights-based approach.
  6. Development of a methodology for comprehensive longitudinal research on OCOG-led Olympic education programmes, their role and their potential impact in promoting Olympism locally (in the host country) and globally, and their contribution to the success of the Games and to creating lasting benefits for young people in the host territory.
  7. Intangible Olympic legacies – Examining the long-term changes initiated by hosting the Olympic Games or the Youth Olympic Games in terms of: a) skills, knowledge and networks; b) policy and governance; and c) intellectual property and its impact on Olympic (parent) brand. The studies should be empirical and look at Olympic Games editions, Youth Olympic Games editions or Olympic candidatures with at least a four-year “test of time” (i.e. editions from 2016 or before).
  8. Main global opportunities, challenges and industry trends on the organisation and delivery of and participation in large-scale sports events:
    - from an athlete’s and event organiser’s point of view, considering the growing impact of virtual and digital components (“phygital” experience)
    - from a sustainability point of view, as a result of the growing need for responsible and sustainable models
    - from an economic point of view, to address changing business models and revenue streams.
    - from a participant experience point of view (including spectators, staff and volunteers, coaches and referees, etc.), in light of the evolution of the social, demographic and health conditions.

    Please note that we don’t expect a single proposal to be able to cover all the different dimensions listed above.
  9. Olympic legacy evaluation – Examining legacies using empirical, data-driven approaches. Priority will be given to studies looking at under-researched Olympic Games editions – Summer Games held in the period 1972-2004 and Winter Games held in the period 1968-2006 – and to Olympic candidatures. Candidates interested in the topic will find in the Olympic World Library a systematic review of academic publications on the legacy of the Olympic Games from 1896 to 2016 (see here).
  10. Safe Sporting Environments - Research into athletes’, coaches’ and sports organisations’ experiences from different sports and countries to determine evidence-based interventions to safeguard athletes from harassment and abuse in sport.
  11. Sports organisations’ initiatives to improve women’s engagement across the organisations’ administration and governance – Analysis of good practices and successful initiatives of NOCs and National Sports Federations in the Global South.
  12. The economic dimension of the sports sector – Meta-analysis of studies already conducted assessing sport-related GDP and sport-related economic activity and employment.
  13. The impact of the postponement of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and other international sports competitions on athletes’ mental health, sport performance and unexpected retirement – Case studies including various summer sports from different continents.
  14. The place of sport and physical activity in the health sector as both prevention and primary healthcare tools against non-communicable diseases – Analysis of the trends of the political discourse and policies of national governments as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a particular interest in future Olympic Games host countries.
  15. The role that Safe Sport can play in humanitarian crises and the impact of Safe Sport on refugee, internally displaced young people and host communities (impact on psychosocial well-being, mental health, social cohesion and social inclusion) - How Safe Spaces and Safe Sport contribute to protecting girls and boys. (For more information, please refer to the “Sport for Protection toolkit: Programming with Young People in Forced Displacement Settings” created by UNHCR, the IOC and Terre des hommes).
  16. “Urban sports” as an opportunity to strengthen links between sport, art, culture and society – Case studies based on the “urban sports/disciplines/events” included in the Olympic programmes for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024 (skateboarding, BMX, breaking, basketball 3x3, sport climbing and surfing).
Who is eligible to apply?

All university professors, lecturers and research fellows who have completed their doctorate and who currently hold an academic/research appointment/affiliation covering the period of the grant.

Selection Committee

The Grant Programme Selection Committee is composed of academic experts who are world-renowned for their involvement in Olympic studies. The relevant IOC departments and a selection of Peer reviewers are also involved in the selection process.

To find a detailed description of the evaluation and selection process and the pool of Peer reviewers who have contributed to the programme in the past, please consult our website.

Application files

Application files, and any related correspondence, should be sent to The OSC before 1 February 2021. The complete explanatory document and the application form are available on our website.


The Advanced Olympic Research Grant Programme is one of the two research programmes run by The IOC Olympic Studies Centre. To learn more about the other research opportunities, please click here.

Find out more about The Olympic Studies Centre’s services and programmes on our website. Discover the Olympic World Library (OWL), our library catalogue dedicated to Olympic knowledge with 36.000 official and academic titles, of which over 10.500 documents are accessible in digital format.

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