International Competence in Knowledge-to-Action for Policy, Infrastructures and Practice

The Division of Physical Activity and Public Health, headed by Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten, has a widely recognized competence in research and development of evidence-based policies, infrastructures and practices, particularly with respect to linking policy-related knowledge to action.

Scientific research and consulting on how to successfully link knowledge to action is of special relevance in today's science-based society. All important international funding agencies (e.g. DG Research in Europe and NIH in the US) have initiated large-scale funding programs in this field. Current research and practice distinguish between various levels of knowledge-to-action:

• Evidence-based policy and scientific consultancy on policy and infrastructure development and implementation – e.g. physical activity policy recognizing the state of knowledge concerning the effectivity of different physical activity interventions

• Evidence-based practice and scientific consultancy on practice – e.g. science-based physical activity programs

The scope of the division's projects ranges from policy analysis with quantitative survey instruments to community development based on policy ethnography:

• Prof. Rütten’s early experiences with quantitive policy studies studies are based on the EU-funded MAREPS-project conducted in the late 1990s. Outcomes of this project, e.g. a methodology for the analysis of determinants of policy impact (ADEPT Model), were utilized in different international research projects. Curently, the division is preparing a Global Policy-Maker Study (GPOLIS) with partners from Australia, Canada, EU and the USA.

• The divison also used the ADEPT Model for systematic policy and infrastructure development in 15 European nations in its EU-sponsered projects for DG Sanco. EUNAAPA and PASEO focused on policy development for the promotion of physical activity for older people. The main task of the IMPALA project was related to policies for improving infrastuctures for physical activity.

• The third strand of projects concerns community-based development with a strong focus on policy. Based on Prof. Rütten’s experience with one of the early WHO Investment for Health European demonstration projects (Healthy Region West Saxony), the BIG Project has become a nationally and internationally recognized model for physical activity promotion for sociallly disadvantaged populations.