2017: Looking back, and ahead ...

The past year has been one of many significant milestones across many aspects of my life in academia - culminating in my appointment as Professor of Software Engineering at The Open University and stepping up to be Head of the School Computing & Communications.  This blog hasn't received as much attention in the past, and not sure if this will change in the coming year, but for my final post of the year let me reflect on some of the significant events in my working life:

January: Formally started production of a new course, "Introduction to Computing Technologies", which forms part of the core for the Open University's Digital & Technology Solutions Professional Degree Apprenticeship scheme.  The course is now being presented with our first cohort of apprenticeship students.

February: Presented Social-Lift, our tool for digital evidence collection from Facebook timelines, at the Social Media Conference organised by the OU's Centre for Policing Research & Learning.

April: Project kick-off meeting for STRETCH: Socio-technical Resilience for Targeted Community Healthcare, an EPSRC research project in collaboration with Exeter University, AgeUK Exeter and Milton Keynes, and Milton Keynes University Hospital.

May: Discovered that "Introduction to Cyber Security" was a finalist in the Education category of the SC Magazine Cyber Security Europe awards.  The course was shortlisted alongside Royal Holloway University of London and Cyber Security Challenge UK.

June: Ian Kennedy, a PhD student jointly supervised by Blaine Price and myself, successfully defended his thesis on "A Malware Analysis Tool Evaluation Framework".  His examiners were Dr. Angus Marshall (York), Prof. Tim Watson (Warwick) and Dr. Kevin Waugh (Open University).  Even before completing his PhD Ian secured an appointment as a senior lecturer at Canterbury Christchurch University.

September: Delivered a keynote talk at the "Software Engineering for Smart Systems" symposium at De Montfort University.  My talk was titled "People in the Machine: Human-centric Software Engineering for Smart Systems".

November:  "Privacy Band", receives the IET Innovation Award in Cyber Security.  This is a device designed and developed by Vikram Mehta, a research engineer and PhD student supervised by Blaine Price, Bashar Nuseibeh and myself.

December: Appointed as Professor of Software Engineering, and also new Head of the School of Computing & Communications at The Open University.

Immensely grateful to my family, teachers, colleagues, students, and collaborators who have all played an important part in the research and teaching activities that have shaped my career to this point.  Proud to achieved all these milestones at an institution that is committed to making higher education available to everyone.   The coming year promises to bring with it many challenges, but also exciting new opportunities.  I am looking forward to working with my brilliant colleagues to make 2018 a successful year for all of us! 😎


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