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Xavier Symons (ACU)

Australian Catholic University and its healthcare partners have announced the appointment of Xavier Symons as the incoming director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics.

Dr Symons will commence in the role in April 2024, marking a new chapter in Plunkett’s commitment to Catholic bioethics together with a network of partner hospitals and aged care centres.

Dr Symons brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new position. He is a philosopher and bioethicist. He completed his PhD at the Australian Catholic University in 2020 with a thesis that focused on the ethics of healthcare resource allocation. He also holds degrees from the University of Sydney and the University of Oxford.

Dr Symons has worked as a researcher and lecturer at the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Australian Catholic University. He completed a Fulbright Future Postdoctoral Scholarship at Georgetown University’s Kennedy Institute for Ethics in 2021-22 with a research project focused on the ethics of dementia. He has also taught bioethics at the University of Technology Sydney Faculty of Law. He is an outgoing Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Human Flourishing Program in the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University.

Dr Symons said he was honoured to be appointed Director of Plunkett, where he was previously a postdoctoral research fellow.

“This is an important role that carries with it a responsibility to advance ethics within healthcare and biomedical research as well as to conduct rigorous bioethics scholarship within the Catholic intellectual tradition,” Dr Symons said.

Outgoing Director Dr Bernadette Tobin said it had been a privilege to lead the centre. She will remain affiliated with the Plunkett Centre as a researcher.

Established in 1992, the Plunkett Centre for Ethics is a centre of Australian Catholic University, currently with six “participating partners”: St Vincent’s Public Hospital Sydney, St Vincent’s Private Hospital Sydney, The Mater Hospital Sydney, Calvary Healthcare, Cabrini Hospital Melbourne, and Mercy Health.


Xavier Symons appointed Director of the Plunkett Centre for Ethics (ACU)