Alfred Gusenbauer studied political sciences, philosophy and law at the University of Vienna (D.Phil 1987). From January 1981 to September 1990 he was Executive Secretary for Youth in the Social Democratic Party of Austria. He also served as federal chairman of the Socialist Youth (SJ) (1984 – 1990). From 1985 to 1989 Alfred Gusenbauer served as a Vice-President of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY). He was also a senior research fellow in the Economic Policy Department of the Chamber of Labour from 1990 – 1999, chairman of the Social, Health and Family Affairs Committee of the Council of Europe (1995 – 1998) and Secretary General of the Social Democratic Party in Lower Austria from November 1999 to February 2000. He has served as a member of the Austrian Delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe since 1991.
Since 2000 he held positions as Secretary general of the Social Democratic Party of Austria, leader of the Social Democratic Group in the Austrian Parliament (February 2000), leader of the Social Democratic Party of Austria (April 29th 2000) and Chancellor of Austria from January 2007 to December 2008.
He is First James Leitner Fellow at Columbia University, New York, Professor-at-Large at Brown University Providence/Rhode Island, Member of the Council of the Institute for Global Law and Policy (IGLP) at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusets, and Chairman of the FEPS Next Left Research Programme, Brussels, Belgium.