Prof. Dr. Alfred Rütten is the director of the Institute of Sport Science and Sport, head of the Division of Public Health and Physical Activity, and chair of Sport Science at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany. He has previously served as Professor of Sport Sociology/Sport Psychology, Technical University of Chemnitz, as Research Professor of Sociology, University of Birmingham (Alabama) and Visiting Professor of Public Health, Yale University.

He received his doctoral degree in political science, sociology, and sport science from Technical University of Aachen and his Habilitation in sport science from University of Stuttgart.

He has led several cross-national research projects on health promotion in the European Union. His main research topics are (1) policy analysis and knowledge-to-action (e.g. EC funded project “Building Policy Capacities for Health Promotion through Physical Activity among Sedentary Older People” – PASEO), (2) health-promoting physical environments (e.g. EC funded project “Improving Infrastructures for Leisure-Time Physical Activity in the Local Arena” – IMPALA), and (3) intervention and evaluation studies in physical activity promotion for socially disadvantaged groups (e.g. EC funded project "MOVE"; BMBF funded project “Movement as Investment for Health” – BIG).

At the European level, he is one of the experts that developed the “European Physical Activity Guidelines” of the European Commission (2008), and he is also currently involved in an EU initiative to foster the implementation of the Guidelines. He has served as Temporary advisor of WHO at several occasions. He has been part of the WHO-Expert group on “Physical Activity Promotion in Disadvantaged Groups” since 2010. In 2011 he started a co-operation with WHO to establish a WHO Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity and Health.

At the national level, he is part of the advisory group on the National Action Plan on Physical Activity & Diet, German Federal Ministry of Health (since 2009). He has also served as a consultant for various other national and regional bodies. He has been a leading national expert on integrated planning and local sport development for more than 20 years and worked on that issue with several municipalities and regions, e.g. Frankfurt/Main area.

His recent international presentations and keynote speeches have covered the implementation of EU Physical Activity Guidelines (at the Meeting of EU Sport Directors Copenhagen, June 2012, and at the Sportvision2012 Conference Copenhagen, March 2012), “Bridging the gap between research and policy-making in PA promotion” (at the HEPA EUROPE conference in Amsterdam, October 2011), and “Cross-sector partnerships for building policy capacities for physical activity promotion” (at the MOVE–Sport for All World Congress in Paris, October 2011).

Current Positions

  • Director of the Institute of Sport Science and Sport
  • Head of the Division of Physical Activity and Public Health
  • Chair of Sport Science at FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg


  • Study of Social Science, Sport Science and History, RWTH Aachen
  • 1987 PhD in Political Science, Sociology, Sport Science, RWTH Aachen
  • 1992 Habilitation in Sport Science, University of Stuttgart

Research and professional experience

1985-1987 Basic Research at the Institute of Sport Science, RWTH Aachen.
1987-1994 Research Assistant, Lecturer at the Institute of Sport Science, University of Stuttgart.
1993-1994 Research Professor, Departments of Sociology and Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham (USA).
1998 Visiting Professor of Public Health, School of Medicine, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, USA.
1994-2001 Professor of Sport Science and Applied Sociology, Technical University Chemnitz.
1996-2001 Head of the Research Unit for Regional Health Promotion at the Technical University Chemnitz.
since 2001 Professor of Sport Science and Director of the Institute of Sport Science and Sport, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg.
2003-2008 Vice-President, German Sport Science Federation (dvs)/Chair, dvs-Section on Sport and Space
since 2005 WHO-Temporary Adviser: Social Inequality, Healthy Environments, Physical Activity Surveillance
since 2007 Expert for European Commission: Development/Implementation “EU Physical Activity Guidelines”
since 2009 Adviser for Various German Ministries: Health Promotion, Sport, Research, Urban Development
since 2011  WHO-Collaborator, Development of WHO-Collaborating Centre for Physical Activity and Health 

Curriculum Vitae