Conditions for the 6th Edition (2021-2023)

The University Francisco de Vitoria, in collaboration with the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI, has announced the sixth edition of the Expanded Reason Awards, dedicated to recognizing and promoting university work in the service of the truth and the full realization of the individual and society.  

The Awards are conferred on university professors and researchers from any field of study in recognition of academic or scientific achievement embodying the vision of expanded reason as expressed by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

One of the hallmarks of contemporary scientific and academic life is the absolute faith in scientific rationality, taking for granted the notion that rationality is the only sure route to knowledge and the betterment of mankind. Certainly, any university worthy of the name must ensure the academic and scientific rigor and solvency of its intellectual output. There is, however, much more.

In raising up scientific rationality as the only true form of knowledge, vital questions of human existence are left unanswered: questions about the basis and purpose of life, questions about the objective value of reality, questions about the problem of God, faith, and the meaning of human existence. These questions were the foundation of the university from the very beginning: “At the most intimate level, the true origin of the university lies in the thirst for knowledge that is proper to man. The human being wants to know what everything around him is. He wants truth”[1].

The Expanded Reason Awards aim to foster a renewal in university thinking that preserves and cultivates a sensitivity to the truth residing in the heart of every human being, and thus prevent reason from bowing to the pressure of interests and the attraction of utility, constrained to recognize this as the ultimate criterion[2].

Keeping this sensitivity to truth alive requires taking a holistic approach to the human individual, addressing the profound existential questions posed by daily life and in all scientific inquiry. For ultimately, science is the response born out of the wonderment before reality and thus is the confluence between these profoundly human questions and scientific endeavor.

The Expanded Reason Awards seek academic answers to the questions that lie at the very heart of every science, and which can only be answered by transcending the limits of scientific rationality and engaging in a fruitful dialogue with philosophy and theology[3]. This is the meaning of Expanded Reason.  

There are multiple questions that can be considered fundamental. The following four are not the only ones that could be developed in the submitted works.

[1] Benedict XVI. Speech prepared for the meeting with the University of Rome La Sapienza, 17 January 2008.

[2] Cf. ibidem.

[3] Cf. ibidem.

At the heart of every science or academic discipline, to a greater or lesser degree implicitly or explicitly, lies the anthropological question. The fundamental vision of the human individual will profoundly determine the content of all scientific research or academic enquiry. This question can be expressed in the following terms: What vision of mankind lies within what is being taught or learned? Individualistic or fraternal? Purely historical or open to transcendence? Genetically predetermined or capable of freedom? What type of person is shaped through these notions? And what type of society?

Within every academic endeavor or scientific enquiry lies an embedded epistemology, explicit or implicit. This can be expressed in two fundamental questions: Is what I am teaching or researching true? What is the purpose and what are the limits of my science and my method? This reflection on the truth and nature of scientific knowledge will determine the content and methodology by taking a position before the question of the truth and the possibility of knowing it.

A reflection on the truth and on mankind leads to the question of how one should act, both in terms of scientific research and its practical application through technology and in relation to the impact on the course of individual lives. At the heart of every academic field there is an ethical question, made more or less explicit, which looks to the goals of science and the technical, cultural, social or personal consequences to which it may lead.

There are many aspects to the question of meaning. In terms of teaching, meaning can be derived from educating individuals, enabling a full and fruitful life and the opportunity to contribute to the betterment of the community, or the meaning to be found in work and thus to engagement with the living God. In terms of science, meaning may lie in the philosophical and theological basis of the sciences and the search for the ultimate unity of knowledge; this can also reveal the degree to which a particular science can illuminate the most profound questions of human existence. University research must be oriented towards the study of the roots of the fundamental dilemmas of the age and propose solutions and this is not possible without engaging with the question of God.

Specialization is the foundation of the scientific method: the scientist’s gaze is focused on a specific fragment of reality. However, the meaning of this fragment, and for the person conducting the research, can only be found as part of a larger whole, a synthesis, which places the fragments within a larger reality.

Epistemologically speaking, the profound questions posed by any specific field of knowledge require that science engage in a dialogue with philosophy and theology. The result is not a hybrid juxtaposition of science and philosophical or theological concepts but the integration of fragmentary knowledge into a coherent unity. Thus, synthesis can be understood as the step from knowledge to wisdom, from phenomenon to foundation[1].

The result of the synthesis of knowledge is a renewed science, where the limitations of the method are overcome without compromising scientific rigor. Science is enriched, illuminated by the meaning bestowed by superior knowledge and broader vision, while the fragment is also enriched through integration into a larger unity. Philosophy and theology are also ennobled, touching the real lives of individuals through this synthesis rather than relegated to abstraction.

[1] John Paul II. Encyclical Letter Fides et ratio (14th September 1998), 83.

The Expanded Reason Awards considers academic work that reflects an active engagement and real dialogue between a specific scientific field and philosophy and/or theology. The purpose is to explore the very limits of science where the fundamental questions about the human individual, about good, the truth and meaning are found, and for which science has no answer.

Proposed simply as examples, the following thematic areas may be of interest: transhumanism, leadership, the impact of artificial intelligence on various human contexts, ecology, etc.


The Awards are divided into two categories: Research and Teaching.

This category includes books and articles, published or unpublished, that engage scientifically in a specific issue from the perspective of expanded reason.

The relevance of the research to current issues is paramount and more recent research will be more favorably considered. Research conducted or published prior to 2010 will only be admitted if its current relevance is demonstrated in the explanatory document.

This category includes university academic programs (syllabi, teaching guides, curricula, methodologies, etc.) that provide a comprehensive education for the whole individual within a given scientific field with a thorough explanation of how questions raised by expanded reason are incorporated.  

The academic programs within this category must be must take place within a university and include an evaluation of results, impact and student experience of the comprehensive education program.

  • The Expanded Reason Awards are open to university professors and researchers of any nationality, both as individuals or as a group (in the latter case, the name of the coordinator or main researcher will be specified).

A particular invitation is made to younger scholars, since the Awards seek to be an encouragement to rising academic talent and not only a recognition of outstanding achievements for established scholars.

  • Academic institutions or institutes specialised in any field of knowledge may also participate, specifying at the time of registration that it is the institution as such that is applying, regardless of whether it does so through its researchers.

Participants may specialize in any of the following fields of knowledge:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Technology and Engineering
  • Experimental Sciences
  • Business and Economics
  • Education
  • Social Sciences
  • Justice, Law and Politics
  • Health Sciences
  • Communication

“Research” Category

Two 25,000€ awards will be given[1].


“Teaching” Category

Two 25,000€ awards will be given.


The jury may alter this distribution of the Awards in the Research and Teaching categories. The number of prizes may be increased in one area and decreased in another according to the quality of the finalist entries.

The Award winners agree to participate in the Awards ceremony and to present a paper at the 5th edition of the Expanded Reason Congress[2]. Travel expenses and accommodation during the event will be covered by the organization.[3]

The jury may also award Honorable Mentions and these authors[4] will be invited to participate in the 5th edition of the Expanded Reason Congress, including the costs of registration, travel and accommodation.   

The organizing committee may invite Awards finalists to participate in the 5th edition of the Expanded Reason Congress, including the costs of registration and accommodation (transportation will be the responsibility of the invited author).

[1] The monetary awards are subject to tax withholding. Payment of award monies will be processed through a single coordinator or principal investigator under whose name the project is presented for consideration, even in cases of a collaborative, multi-author works.

[2] The paper may be published in one of the collections of the University Francisco de Vitoria.

[3] If the Award is given to a multi-author or collaborative work, the coordinator or principal investigator agrees to represent the other collaborators or co-authors.


Work may be submitted through the Expanded Reason Awards website using the form provided.  

All submissions must include the following:

An abstract of no more than 500 words in English or Spanish.

  1. This document will serve as a reading guide for the presented work and should clearly explain how this relates to expanded reason in addressing anthropological, epistemological, and ethical issues and the question of meaning. The jury will give special consideration to this document in assessing the relevance of the submission to the aims of the Expanded Reason Awards.


The explanatory document must be submitted in English or Spanish with a length of 3,000 and 8,000 words and conform to UFV editorial standards.

In the case of resubmitted work, the explanatory document should indicate the modifications and updates that justify the new submission for the Awards.

  1. Works will be accepted in English, Spanish, Italian and French. The format is free.


If the work is not available in digital format, seven printed copies must be sent to the address indicated in the “Contact” section of the website. Printed copies will become the property of the Expanded Reason Awards.

Papers may be submitted from November 17, 2021 to March 13, 2023.

The jury’s decision will be published on the Expanded Reason Awards website in July 2023:

  • Demonstrable quality and rigor in the knowledge and methodology within a particular discipline.
  • Contemporary scientific, cultural and social relevance and originality of the work.
  • A comprehensive approach.
  • Depth of the dialogue between a particular science and philosophy and/or theology.
  • The soundness of the grounding in anthropological, epistemological and ethical issues and the question of meaning.
  • The relevance and quality of the bibliography.
  • The rigor of the explanatory document in the terms of the criteria indicated in point 4 above.
  • Demonstrable quality and rigor in the knowledge and methodology applied to a particular discipline.
  • A comprehensive approach.
  • The soundness of the grounding in anthropological, epistemological and ethical issues and the question of meaning.
  • The relevance and quality of the bibliography.
  • The clarity and coherence of the academic program and its pedagogical application.
  • The originality of the proposed learning methodologies.
  • Evidence of the impact on the comprehensive education of students.

Participation in the Expanded Reason Awards supposes full acceptance of all provisions and conditions contained herein and conformity with the decisions of the jury, which are final.

Participants affirm they are the authors of the submitted work and meet all conditions and requirements to compete in these Awards.

Subject to approval by the Scientific Committee, participants will agree to the publication of their explanatory document, or summary thereof, in the Expanded Reason Digital Repository (DEDIRA) and may also allow the publication of their full work. All work published in the DEDIRA will be protected under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Noderivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).


The jury will be made up of university professors and researchers of international reputation appointed by the University Francisco de Vitoria and agreed by the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.

The president of the Vatican Foundation Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI and the rector of University Francisco de Vitoria will act as co-presidents.

All decisions by the jury will be by a majority of votes.

Should the jury decide that submissions do not meet the standards of excellence required the Expanded Reason Awards will not be granted.  

Decisions by the jury are final and all participants expressly waive any challenge to the Awards decision.  

These rules and requirements may be modified at any time without prior notice.


The University Francisco de Vitoria (UFV) is processor of collected data.

Contact: University Francisco de Vitoria. General Secretary. Ctra. M-515 Pozuelo-Majadahonda, km 1,800; 28223, Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid).

UFV Data protection officer:

The University Francisco de Vitoria will process personal data for the following purposes:

  • To manage registration for the Expanded Reason Awards.
  • To provide information regarding future events and activities organized by the University Francisco de Vitoria and other information of interest and to post images and videos on the websites of the university, the Expanded Reasons Awards and social networks in which participants may appear as a result of their participation in university activities (events related to the Awards, classes, conferences, etc.). Calls for papers and other information may also be sent by electronic means (SMS, e-mail, student portal and social networks).

The legitimacy of data processing is based on the express consent of participants indicated on the submission form.

Personal data will be processed for the following period:

The objective of the data processing has been competed or the revocation of consent on the part of the participant.

All work and other supporting documentation submitted for the Awards will be held indefinitely.

The University Francisco de Vitoria has several applications and IT support providers which have access to personal data when carrying out work related to the Expanded Reason Awards. The University Francisco de Vitoria and its service providers fully comply with data processing regulations pursuant to Article 28 of the General Data Protection Regulation. Where service providers are located outside the European Union, the University Francisco de Vitoria requests additional guarantees in accordance with rules for international data transfer set forth in the General Data Protection Regulation, including the contracting of service providers certified according to the framework of the European Union – United States agreement called Privacy Shield /

All participants have the right to obtain information about the processing of their data, access their personal data and request the rectification or modification of any data that is incorrect or, as the case may be, request the suppression or deletion of their data when no longer necessary for the purposes for which it was collected or by revoking their consent to data processing.

In certain cases, participants may request the limitation of data processing, in which case data will only be conserved to the extent allowed by current legislation.

In certain cases, participants may exercise their right to data portability, in which case it will be provided in a structured, commonly used or machine-readable format to the participant or the new data controller designated by the participant.

Participants may revoke their consent for data processing at any time.

Participants may exercise their rights to access, correction, deletion, opposition, limitation of processing and data portability by sending a written request either electronically signed or accompanied by a photocopy of their ID card or passport. If acting by proxy, the document must be accompanied by valid power of attorney and a copy of their ID card or passport or be electronically signed.


Written submissions must be presented in person at the University Secretariat or sent by post to the address given in our website “Contact” section.

Participants have the right to contact the University’s data protection officer regarding all matters relating to the processing of their personal data and the exercise of their rights under this Regulation and to lodge a complaint with the competent supervisory authority if they consider that the exercise of their rights has not been properly complied with.

The time limit for a resolution is one month from the receipt of their request. It may be extended by two months depending on the complexity of the application or the number of applications received.

In the event of any modification of participant’s data, please inform us in writing in order to keep data updated.