Institute for Ethics & Society

Welcome from the Director

Welcome to the Institute for Ethics and Society (IES). We’re a national research institute based on the Sydney campus. Informed by the resources of the Catholic intellectual tradition, our research aims at better understanding how cultivating the virtues can strengthen civil society and support human flourishing. We’re also committed to engaging with key issues in bioethics and with the significant role that religion plays in questions of ethics and society. We work with a wide range of partners outside the University, especially in the healthcare and education sectors.

The IES has three Research Focus Areas:

I was pleased to join Notre Dame as Professor of Philosophy and the new Director of the IES in February 2020. Prior to that, I was Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hertfordshire, UK, where I also served as Research Leader for Philosophy and Director of the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities Research Institute.

You can find out more about me and my own research.

Professor John Lippitt Director, Institute for Ethics & Society


2021 Notre Dame School of Virtue & Character

Held over two weeks in November and December, the 2021 Notre Dame School of Virtue & Character allows selected participants to engage with new research on the topic of cultivating good character from five leading researchers. The 2021 NDSVC will focus on the theme of The Virtues and Vices of Moral Criticism.

Industry-Funded Research Fellow

The IES in undertaking a three-year industry funded research project ($185,000) with St Vincent’s Health Australia to investigate and optimise the provision of spiritual care training for staff in the healthcare industry.

IES & Royal Rehab Industry-Linked PhD

The IES and Royal Rehab have jointly funded a PhD scholarship in the area of resilience and traumatic injury rehabilitation to commence in 2022. The doctoral student will work within the IES’s Bioethics & Healthcare Ethics research team, in close partnership with Royal Rehab. This industry-linked PhD scholarship includes a (tax-free) stipend of $30,000 per annum, for up to three years.

Fulbright Australia Senior Scholar Award

Professor John A. Rees has been awarded a 2020 Fulbright Senior Scholarship as the Milward L. Simpson Visiting Professor at the University of Wyoming to study ‘religious literacy in international relations theory and practice’. John will take up his award in January 2022.

2021 Notre Dame School of Virtue & Character

Tuesday 23 November – Sunday 2 December

The Institute for Ethics & Society is delighted to host the 2021 Notre Dame School of Virtue & Character.

  • Held over two weeks, the second NDSVC allows selected participants to engage with new research on the topic of cultivating good character. NDSVC features five keynote sessions, each running for 1.5 hours. The sessions are structured around a pre-read paper and provide participants with the opportunity to engage directly with the speakers in a rigorous but friendly discussion of their work. The 2021 NDSVC will focus on the theme of The Virtues and Vices of Moral Criticism.

The keynote speakers are: Daniel Hutto (University of Wollongong), Michael Lynch (University of Connecticut), Linda Radzik (Texas A&M University), Robin Zheng (Yale-NUS College), and John Lippitt (IES).

We welcome applications for participation via email. Due to COVID-19, the 2021 NDSVC keynote speakers will appear via Zoom.

Recent Events & Activities

2021 Screening Virtue, Screening Vice – What can films and television shows teach us about virtues and vices?
Thursday 7 & Friday 8 October (via Zoom)

2021 Voluntary Assisted Dying and Suicide Prevention Annual Lecture
Bioethics & Healthcare Ethics (BHE) Tuesday 21 September (via Zoom)

2021 Refuge Reimagined: Biblical Kinship in Global Politics Symposium. Wednesday 15 September 2021 (via Zoom)

2020 Love’s Forgiveness Book Launch. 19 November

What our partners are saying

“We partnered with the IES on a highly specific and innovative ethics education program in the hope that they would be able to help us measure its effectiveness in a meaningful way and give us concrete suggestions for improvement. They delivered on all of this and more by tailoring their expertise to suit our needs and ultimately delivering a high quality report, which has been an enormous help to the leadership of St Vincent’s as part of our broader ethics strategy. The staff at the IES have a high level of professionalism and mix this with a focus on adaptability and contextual sensitivity, which make them the perfect partners for work in professional ethics.”

Dr Dan Fleming

Group Manager Ethics & Formation | St Vincent’s Health Australia
Visiting Fellow | Faculty of Law | The University of Technology, Sydney
Associate Member | Law, Health and Justice Research Centre | The University of Technology, Sydney