Celebrating our inspiring female colleague, Dr Ciara Airey, on International Women’s Day 2024!

Her dedication and leadership are truly remarkable.

We asked Ciara her thoughts on supporting and inspiring women to take on careers in STEM and also about her new role within Biocomposites.


How can we encourage more women to pursue careers in STEM?
It’s no secret that gender stereotypes and bias can discourage women from pursuing STEM careers. Women currently represent 25%-35% of the STEM workforce and while men are still over-represented in some areas such as engineering, it’s great to see that the rate of women entering STEM careers is continuing to rise. This is in part due to initiatives by schools, universities and other organisations which are creating environments and opportunities to attract young people of all genders to study STEM from an early age. I can see the impact of this first hand in my daughters who have access to excellent STEM learning opportunities in their primary school and are positively encouraged to participate and build their confidence through fun and interactive lessons. Female role models can also be powerful advocates to inspire women to pursue careers in STEM, and having a relatable female mentor for young women during their school and university years has been shown to increase retention and progression in further STEM education programs and careers.

However, industry can still do much more to retain and progress women in STEM careers. Women may be less willing to engage in dialogue that they perceive to be challenging around career decisions, progression and work-life balance and so I feel that employers should adopt a culture of equality and inclusion to empower women and all professionals regardless of gender, race, age or any other characteristics, to thrive in STEM careers.

Tell us about your role at Biocomposites
At Biocomposites, I have the privilege of leading our exceptionally talented regulatory team as Regulatory Affairs Director to ensure that our products are developed, registered and maintained in over 30 countries globally in line with all applicable regulatory requirements while adhering to high standards of compliance. Since joining 8 months ago, the Biocomposites Regulatory Team has over doubled in size to ensure that we can continue to meet the growing demand for our products. We are now a team of 12 (and still growing!) ranging from bright new graduates to experienced regulatory specialists focussing on product development, regulatory and technical writing, product registrations and post-market surveillance. As Regulatory Affairs Director, my job is to provide strategic and regulatory leadership to the team. I set challenging goals and we work closely together to achieve those goals. I am incredibly proud of the progress and achievements that the Regulatory Team has made in my short time here. We’ve had significant product approvals which means that more patients can now access lifesaving products such as STIMULAN®, big successes in challenging audits, and some very well deserved promotions. My absolute favourite part of my job is to support each team member in their growth within Biocomposites and it is incredibly rewarding to celebrate their individual successes as they reach new milestones in their career development, all while knowing that they play a key role in improving patients’ lives.