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Alfred Rütten

Alfred Rütten is senior professor at Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Germany. Previously, he served as FAU director of the Institute of Sport Science and Sport and as head of the Division of Public Health and Physical Activity. From 2014-2018, he has also been director of the first WHO Collaborating Centre on Physical Activity and Public Health in Europe. He received his Ph.D. in political science, sociology and sport science from RWTH Aachen and his habilitation in sport science from the University of Stuttgart. He then served as research professor of sociology (UAB, USA), as professor of sport science and applied sociology (Chemnitz Technical University), and as visiting professor of public health (Yale University). In 2013 he received an honorary doctorate from the Lithuanian Sports University. From 2014 to 2015 he was visiting professor of public health at Stanford Prevention Research Center (Stanford University).

Rütten has led several cross-national research and development projects on behalf of the European Commission and WHO. For example, he was contracted by the EC to coordinate a study on the implementation of the EU Physical Activity Guidelines and an international network to implement these guidelines in the area of infrastructure development. In 2015, he and his team conducted several reviews supporting the development of the WHO Physical Activity Strategy for the European Region and the German National Recommendations for Physical Activity. From 2014-2018, he has been the coordinator of a BMBF-funded research network on capabilities for active lifestyle and interactive knowledge-to-action – Capital4Health. 

At the European level, he was one of the experts that developed the “European Physical Activity Guidelines” (2008), and has been involved in an EU initiative to foster the implementation of the Guidelines since 2013. He has served as a temporary advisor of WHO in various contexts (e.g. monitoring of physical activity, social inequality). Since 2014, he has been a leading scientific consultant for the development and implementation of the WHO European Physical Activity Strategy. On behalf of WHO, he supported national governments in implementing such strategies at the national level.

At the national level, he coordinated the development of National Recommendations for physical activity and its promotion on behalf of German Federal Ministry of Health. He also served as consultant for various other national and regional bodies. Since 2016, he led several projects on the implementation of the German prevention law and the national PA recommendations. Most recently, he coordinated several demonstration projects on the implementation of PA recommendations in Germany and since 2021 he is director of a scaling-up project including a larger sample of communities.    

His recent international publications include review articles, e.g. a “scoping review on three types of evidence to inform physical activity policy” (JPAH 2016). papers on transdisciplinary research (e.g. “co-producing active lifestyles”,  HPI 2017), on implementation of PA guidelines (“How can the impact of national recommendations for physical activity be increased?”, Health Res. Policy Syst. 2018) and on researchers as policy entrepreneurs (Global Handbook of Health Promotion Research, 2022).