Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

TOPRA is a signatory to the Science Council's Diversity Declaration. This commits us to putting diversity and inclusion at the heart of all we do as an organisation, and to consider the importance of diversity for the regulatory affairs profession. Maintaining this commitment is a key element of our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan, in which we pledge to continue to proactively promote a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging.

Key diversity areas for TOPRA

  • Actively promoting regulatory affairs as a profession that welcomes people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Ensuring that our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion is clearly visible and actively supported.
  • Ensuring we collect information on equality, diversity and inclusion issues that relates to our membership for the purposes of our role as a member organisation and to our staff for the purposes of our employment role.

If you would like to find out more, or become involved in the TOPRA Diversity working party, please email our Membership team.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging Committee

Our Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging (EDI&B) Committee, whose chair is appointed by our Board, collects data, evaluates our position and decides on steps we need to take to improve. The committee updates our members on new initiatives throughout the year in our monthly InTouch newsletter. We have many initiatives aimed at improving access in the regulatory profession and ensuring equal opportunities for all. We have also begun research to identify where there are issues, and members will be asked to contribute.

Committee members

Hina Dixit, Aman Khera, Keir Ledger (Chair) Lynda Wight and Alex Yates.

Insights and guidance

A regulatory lens on an industry imperative: Diversity in clinical research
In this article from the January 2022 issue of Regulatory Rapporteur, Aman Khera and Sarah Bly explore the current state of diversity in clinical research. Read the article

Cultural diversity – tackling workplace biases
In the June 2019 issue of Regulatory Rapporteur, Aman Khera addresses diversity and tackling biases in the workplace. Read the article

Why diversity matters
In this online post, Aman Khera explains why diversity and inclusion in regulatory affairs is a driver for advancing healthcare. Read the post

Diversity and inclusion webinar
Following World Day for Cultural Diversity in May 2020, the EDI&B Committee hosted a webinar covering the topic of the diversity and inclusion implications of managing global teams.

89% of TOPRA members believe Diversity and Inclusion is important to them. – Diversity Survey 2019

Kevin Pay, TOPRA Chief Executive, on equity, diversity, inclusion and belonging:

Kevin PayTOPRA is an open organisation and wants to be sure that all regulatory professionals, regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation, race, geographical location or physical capability, can take advantage of our member services and training or volunteering opportunities. We will identify any areas in which there are barriers and address them, and hope that our members will feel able to tell us where we could do better.”


Case studies

We asked some of our members what diversity means to them. Click on their names for more in-depth insights from each about this topic. 

Diversity Case Study: Alix Alderman

Alix is a Senior Director, Regulatory Affairs, at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical

How did you get into regulatory affairs?

The simple answer is, "from the ground up". When my passion for a career in biotechnology became clear, I reached out to anyone and everyone in my network who could potentially shed light on the industry. It took an extensive series of informational interviews to open my eyes to the field of regulatory affairs back in 1999. Based on my interests in novel science, medicine, strategy and teamwork, it became increasingly apparent that working in regulatory affairs had the potential to be a wonderful fit. I set out to obtain an entry level role in the field, which proved difficult to secure; it took much energy, application and patience.

I worked temporary and contract jobs across just about every field in the industry until I was finally offered a contract role to support an IND filing in regulatory affairs at InterMune, Inc. (a small company focused on orphan medicines in the San Francisco Bay Area). My initial role was copyediting a new US Investigational New Drug application (as well as literally making copies of every volume of the paper IND). I worked long hours, learning as much as I possibly could from the many experienced mentors in the RA department and within the company, and gradually secured a full-time entry-level role as a Regulatory Affairs Associate.


What is your current role?

I am currently a Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical, a small company that transforms good science into great medicine for rare genetic diseases.


What challenges/opportunities did you face advancing up the career ladder?

The challenges inherent in advancement include: growing from a technical expert into a skilled manager and mentor, and adapting effectively to change and gaining a balance between career and family. I am grateful to have worked for wonderful companies throughout my career, though some grew too quickly, downsized, and/or significantly reorganised — all of which can result in a variety of emotions and tensions across teams as they settle into new responsibilities and roles. Some of the opportunities that have always come with change, in my experience, are the openings for self-growth/learning and new prospects to both add value and strengthen connections within an evolving organisation and industry.


What does diversity mean to you as a regulatory affairs professional?

Diversity to me is more than simply equality across races, cultures, genders; it is bringing a range of different backgrounds and ideas together in order to strengthen a working team or organisation.


What tips do you have about utilising diversity to improve business performance? How can focusing on diversity impact business outcomes?

A well-diversified team is better able to flex in their roles, understand differences of opinion or perspective, and to effectively use these differences as assets. Building a culture that embraces comfortably challenging each other and allowing freedom in thinking and speaking can ultimately result in a competitive edge – during brainstorming, strategic product development, recruitment and retention of personnel, commercial activities, and in preparing for diverse agency interactions.

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Contact us

If you have any suggestions or feedback on TOPRA’s Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging initiatives, please email membership@topra.org.