He was conducting research at the University on psychic powers, funded by the Kellerfield Research Foundation. The foundation, however, was merely a front for Professor John Finer. He needed a psychic as part of his plan to build a time machine and save his daughter, whom he murdered in a fit of rage several years before.
The time machine was activated, went out of control, but was finally turned off by the Fourth Doctor and the TARDIS. This resulted in a new timeline where Hitchins became a media pundit and "ghostbuster". (PROSE: Psi-ence Fiction)