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Current and Recent Research Projects

VHI researchers are engaged in a range of different research projects across various fields, incorporating or alongside their own personal research. Brief details of currently active and recent research projects are available below, with links to each projects' main page.

Dr Flavio Comim

Contemporary development theories emphasise the importance of increasing 'individual freedoms' without giving enough emphasis to what substantively means to have a good life. These theories, inspired by economics and liberal political philosophy, ignore the importance of common good and human values in shaping social policy and development strategies. The project, carried out by Dr Flavio Comim, explores the limitations of current development discourses and puts forward a framework for thinking of common good as a social objective.

Migration, Religion and Catholic Social Thought 

Dr Sara Silvestri, Dr Elif Çetin

This project, funded by the Plater Trust and started in the summer 2015, addresses the following questions: What is the Catholic contribution in the field of migration in the UK? In what ways is Catholic social thought affecting /shaping/ inspiring the work of those involved in services provision for migrants/asylum seekers and in decision making about asylum and migration?

Navigating Impasses in Bioethics: Rethinking Ill/Health

Dr Lidia Ripamonti, Dr Thana Campos

Contemporary discourse in bioethics and healthcare policy frequently arrives at an impasse caused by disagreement, often unspoken, about what constitutes ‘health’. This project aims to facilitate this conversation by focusing on the concepts and understanding of ill/health from different perspectives (legal, medical, ethical, philosophical, and theological), and how a common understanding might facilitate advances in the current healthcare debate.

Patents on Life: Through the Lenses of Law, Religious Faith and Social Justice

Dr Roman Cholij, Dr Simon Ravenscroft

The Patents on Life project looks at the ethical and religious issues surrounding the patenting of life forms, as well as broader themes in Intellectual Property law as related to questions of ethics and social justice. Its first major event was held in September 2015, with a two-day international conference in Cambridge. Work is continuing on the publication of an edited volume issuing from the papers presented at this conference.

St Paul and Radical Philosophy

Dr Philip McCosker, Dr Simon Ravenscroft

A research group meeting in 2016 to discuss recent interpretations of the theology of St Paul by a range of leading European philosophers, who have given particular attention to the political and social relevance of Paul's thought today. The group is organised in conjunction with faculty and researchers from the Faculty of Divinity and Westfield House, among others.

The Theological and Philosophical Roots of Human Dignity

Prof John Loughlin

This project explores the idea of human dignity from an interdisciplinary perspective, examining its historical roots via theology, philosophy, law, politics, and anthropology, and its application in contemporary human rights legislation, international relations and public policy.


An interdisciplinary research hub inspired by Catholic thought and culture, focussed on contemporary global realities, and dedicated to encounter, dialogue, and transformation