TOPRA 2014 Award in London - Travel diary by William Chin

By William Chin, PhD, Scientific Coordinator, EUCRAF

I boarded my flight from Germany. Packed my best suit in my luggage, I am all set to fly to London. What’s the purpose of your visit, asked the immigration officer at the Heathrow Airport. I am here to attend an award ceremony at the Royal College of Surgeons of England organized by TOPRA, the organisation for professionals in regulatory affairs. My boss was shortlisted for the award and I am here to support her, I replied with a smile on my face. Okay, welcome and have a nice day, replied the officer. I am not sure if she understood, but I thought she was nice.

Royal College of Surgeons of England, Lincoln's Inn Fields

So I hurried my way to meet Sabine at the South meeting point of Terminal 5.  We took the tube to the Holborn station. During the train journey, Sabine spoke about the early days of EUCRAF started about 5 years ago, with Gabriele who had the vision to established this programme out of the need to train professionals in biopharmaceutical related regulatory affairs. Sabine and I checked in into our hotel and we grabbed a quick late lunch –  we both ordered English jacket potatoes! Delicious!

Gabriele arrived in London from Amsterdam, after attending a board meeting. The three of us met up with in the evening at the hotel lobby and made our way to the Royal College of Surgeons. We were all excited. The other shortlisted nominees were equally strong contenders. They all have impressive track records and contributed significantly in field of education in Regulatory Affairs. The opening ceremony was given by Professor Sir Alasdair Breckenridge, on the topic of 'Global Health Challenges. Why regulatory science matters'. Then we were treated to a cocktail reception in a historical library before being ushered to dinner. Apparently the library is one of the surviving structure of the original building today after a German incendiary bomb hit the College in 1941.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England's outstanding library

The dining hall was indeed glittering. And it was glamorous. We were seated on the same table with Professor Sir Alasdair Breckenridge.  He was pleasantly surprised when I introduced myself, as he was closely involved with the new Centre of Regulatory Excellence (CoRE) to promote regulatory leadership, policy innovation in regulatory science and scientific in Singapore. Dinner consisted of a fantastic 3-course menu.

Professor Sir Alasdair Breckenridge seated next to Gabriele Dallmann

The award winners were announced after the dinner. There were a total of 9 categories. Gabriele was shortlisted in the Education category. She looked calm, but Sabine and myself were really excited. As the shortlisted nominees were announced… and the winner for the category in Education is…Gabriele Dallman from EUCRAF!

Shortlisted nominees for Regulatory Excellence in Education

We couldn’t be more thrilled! Sabine cheered loudly and we both stood up to congratulate Gabriele! For Sabine the award means a lot to her because of all the hard work to set up EUCRAF in the early years. I am happy for Gabriele because she deserved this recognition for her dedication in setting up this unique training program. Being the humble person that she is, Gabriele dedicated this award to all the great speakers who contributed to the EUCRAF programme. Once again, congratulations to EUCRAF!

Me, Gabriele and Sabine

About TOPRA 2014 Award

The TOPRA Awards for Excellence in Regulatory Affairs were established in 2010 to recognise the achievement of individuals, teams and organisations both within TOPRA and in the wider regulatory affairs community. The Awards are judged independently by a panel of respected figures in the regulatory industry.


EUCRAF is founded by Gabriele Dallman. She was one of the first to introduce a specialised education programme in biopharmaceutical-related regulatory affairs in Germany. She has established EUCRAF as a centre of excellence in providing professional networking and educational programs in the regulatory affairs community. 

William Chin completed the Master in Regulatory Affairs for Biopharmaceuticals at EUCRAF and previously obtained a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from the Department of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore. He is now the Scientific Coordinator at EUCRAF and Consultant at Biopharma Excellence, a biopharmaceutical consultancy company based in Munich.