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  • Writer's pictureClive Roper


When you receive a certificate or gain a certification, you know what the quality of the product is and the reputation or professional and educational qualifications of the signatory or organisation authenticates this certificate.

On 10 July, I was privileged to speak at the ToxGurukul Foundation webinar. In acknowledgement, I was awarded this rather handsome Certificate of Appreciation for which I am honoured and rather proud. This certificate is bursting with hallmarks of quality and meaning. The first thing we see is the colour, gold. With the Olympics in full swing, we all understand what the gold medal means especially to the winners who have dedicated many years to this moment, but also for the family and friends who have supported and believed in them for so long. The next part of this certificate is in what has been performed. When I put this presentation together, it was a case of considering my audience and getting together some slides and trialling the timing and confirming that I left my audience with a credible and interesting take away message. This certificate reminds us of what we are imparting to our audience "sharing his valuable knowledge and ages of learning". Indeed, I could not have put this together without many years of hard work supported by many colleagues and clients. The final part of the certificate that gives true weight are the people who authenticate the certificate. Dr Rao, Dr Pore and Dr Ahuja not only name themselves, but state their standing in the scientific and business community by including their educational and professional qualifications.

I would really like to thank all the people who attended this lecture and asked so many interesting questions. I also want to thank you for giving me this certificate which I am so honoured to have been given.

I will juxtapose this experience with another which also took place in July. I treated my wife to a pair of green pearl earrings online with a major bricks and mortar and online company (who will remain anonymous, but they enjoyed an awesome reputation for quality, price and customer service). When the earrings arrived, the first thing to come out of the box was a certificate with a photo of the earrings, details of the earrings including colour and size etc and, most importantly for a certificate, a signature with the authenticators professional qualifications. I instantly knew that the present was even better than I thought. So, when my wife opened the box and showed me a pair of white earrings, we were shocked and annoyed. The pearls were not only the wrong colour, but also the wrong size. Checking back with the certificate, it made me think about how much this company failed its customers. It was bad to send the wrong item, but it was worse because the certification was clearly meaningless and whoever was signing it was not verifying what they were signing for. The company is investigating this with their vendor and has been very apologetic, clearly they have been let down too, but they are the face of their supplier and should be ensuring the quality remains consistently high.

These 2 very different experiences brought me back to business and, of course, toxicology. Every time we sign something, be that with a pen or electronically, we are authenticating the document we are providing to someone else. This may be a contract, a scientific report, or a Certificate of Analysis accompanying a test article for testing. In science, we will include our educational and professional qualifications as a sign of quality and trust and there are many legal reasons why our signatures and qualifications give credibility and meaning to the document.

Has my view on certificates and certification changed since I received my first O Level certificate way back in 1984? No, it has just reminded me about how much I value certificates in my work and home life. In 2021, I feel as joyful in gaining the ToxGurukul Foundation certificate as I was in 1984 when I passed my first exam.

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