Ground Zero

15 March 2013
I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Chemistry, University of Basel – actually approaching the end of my tenure in the faculty, rushing to complete my thesis within this semester. 
Prior to moving to Basel, I completed my undergraduate studies in chemistry at St. Peter’s College, University of Oxford, UK. I was an avid rower and continue to enjoy the rush of fresh air from the seat of a bicycle. My academic interests are focused in the realm of materials science and its application through nanotechnology, the bottom-up approach, which without too much mental gymnastics also lends itself to the social studies. 
Switzerland epitomises the ‘bottom-up approach’ in its political structures of direct democracy which is also strongly reflected in the administration of its higher education institutions. I have thoroughly encouraged my British compatriots to visit Switzerland in the time that I have been resident, buoyed by the familiarity that can be found in its surrounds, another island in the centre of Europe.
This Blog forms part of my contribution to the 2013 Global Perspectives Program (GPP) hosted by the University of Basel, Switzerland in partnership with Virginia Tech, USA. This exchange program explores the ‘…challenges of an increasingly diverse and globally focused higher education sector’.
The aim of this blog is to elaborate on this years theme ‘Universities and Society: Meeting Expectations?’ I look forward to sharing ideas with the other 22 GPP 2013 participants between now and June, and welcome comments and opinions to promote deeper discussion. I have always felt it better to hold an opinion and push it to the point of breaking, than to hold back and let others make judgements on your behalf.
Looking forward to assimilating your opinions over the coming weeks and months!
Tom

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