UKAD launches four-year 2021 Strategic Plan with a focus on insight and innovation

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has today published its 2021-2025 Strategic Plan with four new objectives aligned with its mission to protect clean sport. The four-year plan sets out UKAD’s pathway to harness research and data, which includes the creation of a new Insight and Innovation function.

The dedicated Insight and Innovation team will lead on commissioning ground-breaking research projects to inform how UKAD responds to emerging threats, and influences policies to protect clean sport and its integrity.

Earlier this year, UKAD embarked on two studies with Leeds Beckett University, Kingston University and University of Birmingham focusing on evaluating the effectiveness of its athlete and athlete support personnel education programmes. UKAD is also working towards implementing a quicker, less intrusive sample collection method, known as dried blood spot sampling.

By utilising data analytics, UKAD’s intelligence-led approach will be enhanced even further to deter and detect wrongdoing through its education, testing and intelligence capabilities.

Speaking on the launch of the new Strategic Plan, UKAD Chair Trevor Pearce CBE QPM said: “To effectively protect clean sport in the 2020s, we recognise that we have to adapt how we operate to stay up-to-date and to mould to changes in sports, technology and science so that we can keep our finger on the pulse of doping.

“Over the next four years, our goal is to utilise research and data analytics to drive a robust intelligence-led testing programme, embed tailored anti-doping education into all sports, and secure the appropriate powers to investigate and prosecute cheats.

“The strategy has been developed to be bold and ambitious, but it is necessary as we work to remove doping cheats, and towards our vision of sport being clean.”

The four objectives outlined in the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan are:

  • Fulfil UKAD’s core obligations within the World Anti-Doping Code, International Standards and National Anti-Doping Policy.

  • Enhance its insight about the constantly evolving threats to clean sport in the UK and globally.

  • Improve the way it regulates.

  • Secure the data capabilities, tools, and techniques that UKAD needs to ensure that it is optimising all of the information available.

UKAD Chief Executive Nicole Sapstead added: “To support the Strategic Plan, we have several ambitions which underpin the objectives that will be taking us through the next four years, with our re-location to Loughborough University at the top of the agenda.

“We intend to move our headquarters out of London to the new ‘Fourth Pavilion’ building located at SportPark, Loughborough University once construction is complete. In the meantime, we have set up an interim office on the Loughborough University campus, with some staff set to relocate very soon to work out of the new location.

“Though it will take a few years to fully relocate, a permanent headquarters in Loughborough will be highly beneficial as it presents an opportunity to work with the university, athletes and sports based in the local area. It is also an opportunity to create jobs for those living in and around Loughborough as new posts will be recruited to this location. In time, additional offices will also be opened within the home nations.”

As the UK’s National Anti-Doping Organisation (NADO), UKAD has a duty to fulfil its role within the 2021 World Anti-Doping Code, International Standards, and the updated 2021 UK National Anti-Doping Policy.

The Strategic Plan covers a four-year period spanning 2021 to 2025. The full plan is available here, and the PDF can be found below.