Institute for Ethics & Society

The Institute for Ethics & Society (IES) is 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:

New Director of the IES – Professor John Lippitt

The University of Notre Dame Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor John Lippitt as the new Director of the Institute for Ethics & Society. Prior to his appointment as the Director of the IES, he was a Professor of Ethics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. Professor Lippitt commenced his new position at Notre Dame Australia in February 2020.

Professor Lippitt was research leader for Philosophy at the University of Hertfordshire since 2013 and is a leading Kierkegaard scholar. His research interests include virtue ethics and the moral psychology of individual virtues, forgiveness, and the philosophy of love, friendship and education. He has recently finalised a monograph titled Love’s Forgiveness, supported by a Major Research Fellowship from the Leverhulme Trust (2018-2020) and due to be published by Oxford University Press in 2020.

New IES Research Fellow – Dr Tracy Llanera

The Institute for Ethics & Society is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr Tracy Llanera as our new Research Fellow. Prior to her appointment, Tracy was an Assistant Research Professor at the University of Connecticut in the USA. Tracy received her PhD in Philosophy from Macquarie University in 2016, since when she has published Richard Rorty: Outgrowing Modern Nihilism with a second, co-authored book due out from Routledge next year.

Tracy has also worked as a Visiting Research Fellow at Keele University in the UK, and as a Research Fellow at the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute. She has also taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Macquarie, Connecticut and the University of Santo Tomas (Philippines).

Tracy commenced her role with IES in early December 2020.

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.


The IES and Royal Rehab are seeking applications for an exciting new PhD opportunity. The successful applicant will conduct their research within our Bioethics & Healthcare Ethics research team, in close partnership with our partners at Royal Rehab. If you're a high-achieving domestic student interested in undertaking doctoral research in the areas of resilience and traumatic injury rehabilitation, we'd love to hear from you. The scholarship includes a (tax-free) PhD stipend of $30,000 per annum, for up to three years. More details

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’.

Recent Events & Activities

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