Philip Kelly MTOPRA CSci
Over five years ago, I moved from a career in research to a position in regulatory affairs. Once I had adjusted to this new role, I began looking for opportunities for further development. It was at this stage that I became a TOPRA member and started my journey towards professional registration as a Registered Scientist (RSci).
I considered this to be means of investing in my career, encouraging me to aspire to a higher level of professionalism. In 2020, I was granted the designation of Registered Scientist and the panel suggested that I consider applying for Chartered Scientist (CSci).
Since becoming a Chartered Scientist in 2021, I have continued to expand my skillset and knowledge. During this time, I was able to successfully apply for the role of IVDR Project Manager within my organisation. My position allows me to use the experience I have gained throughout my career and offers scope to continue to develop. an abundance of learning opportunities. The processes I have put in place since becoming professionally registered have been crucial in helping me to adapt to challenges as they arise.
Benefits of professional registration
The benefits of being professionally registered will vary between individuals and depend on why you want to become professionally registered. At its core, there is a mark of quality associated with those who have attained Chartered Scientist status regardless of their specific field. There is an inherent accountability, as the individuals in question hold themselves to a high professional standard, and ultimately recognise that their behaviour reflects on themselves and the profession as a whole.
On a personal level, in the past it had been all too easy for me to get caught up in the day-to-day details of my role. I often found it challenging to take the time to reflect on what I had learned, where it fitted into the broader picture and where I wanted to progress. As a Chartered Scientist, I made the commitment to proactively integrate learning as a lifelong process. I find that taking the time to strategically plan out how you wish to improve, and which aspects you would like to focus on, can be an immensely valuable and rewarding activity.
Being professionally registered can also be beneficial when establishing relationships with stakeholders and other organisations. In addition, TOPRA membership provides valuable networking opportunities and can facilitate growing connections with talented peers, which is something that has been challenging in recent years.
At its core, there is a mark of quality associated with those who have attained Chartered Scientist status regardless of their specific field."
Importance of professional registration
The regulatory affairs profession as a whole is still reasonably new. In my opinion, professional registration demonstrates that the sector is taking steps towards maintaining high standards in keeping with other professionally registered sectors. Chartered Scientists demonstrate a level of accountability and a commitment to maintaining high standards in their work. Having a network of professionally registered individuals can also be a means of identifying others who are working to a high standard, which can then lead to potential networking or collaboration with peers operating at a similar level.
Advice for applying
For anybody thinking about applying to become professionally registered, I would advise taking some time to consider what it would mean for you. There are many reasons why you might be considering becoming a Chartered Scientist; if you understand your motivation, it can assist with your application.
It is important to set aside sufficient time to put together and review your application on a regular basis, as it requires a good deal of self-reflection. It is also important to consider the ongoing commitment to maintaining and developing your skills and professional competency, and how you will go about achieving this once registered. Lastly, if you decide to apply then I wish you luck, as ultimately I found it to be a worthwhile endeavour.
The last few years have shown that the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, particularly in regulatory affairs is extremely valuable. I do not know what the future will bring but one thing I can be certain of is that the tools and connections I have, and continue to develop as a Chartered Scientist, will stand me in good stead.
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