Academics at Liverpool John Moores University have been commissioned by the Sports Council to help beat cheats on the track.
Although the number of athletes avoiding detection in drugs testing is unknown, the consensus in the sporting world is that drug abuse is widespread.
Performance enhancing preparations are easily obtainable and as testing becomes more widespread, so drug cocktails become more sophisticated.
The research team, headed by Tom Reilly, head of the graduate school and David Mottram from the school of pharmacy and chemistry, will carry out a comprehensive review of drugs testing in sport to establish priorities for the Sports Council.
"Since drug testing was introduced, and particularly since 1988 when Ben Johnson tested positive, sport has moved from crisis to crisis," said Professor Reilly.
"The type of drugs used by athletes can be anything from central nervous system stimulants and anabolic steroids all the way to tranquilisers which are included in cocktail preparations."