Reflecting and moving onwards

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I think it is fair to say I am not unhappy to see the back on 2015 but I am really looking forward to 2016!

new year

I found 2015 to be a rather unfortunate and frustrating year, I had some major health difficulties which took three or four months out of my working year and then had some frustrations around my work. These haven’t all disappeared but are now manageable and I am ready to take on 2016 with a fair amount more energy than I had last year.  I was frustrated last year as I was full of ideas but didn’t quite have that energy.  One thing that suffered was this blog, but hopefully I can get more down this year. What else will I be trying to do? Read on….


This blog and social media

One positive from last year was a presentation at the Social Media for Learning in Higher Education conference in December. I will aim to write up my short talk for the proceedings.  This was an interesting day conference including some provoking talks, giving me some ideas of how to improve my teaching practices using social media tools. I had some interesting discussions with colleagues from Sheffield Hallam and the wider academic community on how we are using social media and what other tools are available.  Whilst I don’t see myself as an innovator currently, it was nice to see I am ahead of the curve in adoption of many new tools.

For the coming year  I will aim to blog regularly. No schedule or target, just regularly. I will try out a few different formats this year, perhaps a video or podcast may appear, I will be attempting to get some student content (suggested at SocMedHE conference) or at least some student driven content. What form this will be I don’t know – I will be guided by any ideas I receive!  I am quite excited by the possibilities and trying out some new things here….


I was really pleased to be asked to contribute to the annual report of the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, “Forensic science and beyond” – you can find the full report on this link here. I co-authored  Chapter 16 “Encouraging Innovation” with Dr Geraint Morgan (Open University) and Dr Mark Pearse (LGC). It was a very interesting process and as well as hopefully helping shape Government policy on forensic science, it may help forensic scientists to navigate the next stages in the ever changing market.  It was launched just before Christmas and received much media coverage, for example this Guardian piece.

However, I scored a blank on research publications in 2015. Not good. But I am in a strong position to get several out this year. I have a very good PhD student who is now over a year into her studies and is currently pulling together her data to get it out there. I have some previous data to write up and some ideas for review which are partly written.  When any do come out I will let everyone know with a précis of the findings here.  I also have a few ideas for grant applications, one of which will be submitted early this year, hopefully I will be able to persuade an interesting co-applicant to come on board!

Getting involved

I have stated this before, I aim to get involved.  I have been good at that on an internal level at SHU, having got onto a few committees and working parties the last year or so.  I now want to take this wider this year. I will be looking at societies of which I am a member and seeing what I can do with them.  I will also aim to get to (and present) at more conferences again this year. These may be research talks or on my teaching activities, I am keen on both!


Above all of those, of course, will be staying fit and healthy. This will mean some days I will not to contactable, as I will be out on my bike (or on foot), in the lovely hills of the Peak District.  Have a great 2016 everyone and I hope to meet as many as possible of you this year.  Thanks for your support and readership the past three years!


Please feel free to drop me a note if you have any suggestions or comment, or just type them below…

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About Dr Tom Bassindale

Dr Tom Bassindale is a forensic scientist, and the founder of We Are Forensic. He is currently the subject lead for chemistry and forensic science at Sheffield Hallam University. He's managed hundreds of forensic toxicology cases, and is an experienced court witness. He has specialist expertise in forensic toxicology and drug testing in sport. And yes... he watches CSI.