Science Communicator

Apply now Job no: 513704
Classification:Communications Specialist 4
Grade:Grade 79
Work type:Staff Full-time
Administrative Unit:University of Alaska Fairbanks
School/Business unit:UAF Intl Arctic Research Center
Location: Fairbanks
Categories: Communications/Public Relations/Marketing, Research/Science/Grants

Position Summary:

The International Arctic Research Center (IARC) seeks a Science Communicator to interpret and share UAF research with various audiences. The successful applicant will join research projects to communicate results and implications that inform policymakers and help people adapt to a changing climate. This position will coordinate, manage, and perform the science communication needs of the AK CASC and SNAP groups and work within the IARC Science Communications team.


3030% Project Coordination, Research, and Interpretation Collaborate in planning, designing, and producing new and engaging products to further the organizational missions of SNAP, AK CASC, and IARC. Serve as research staff on externally funded research projects by working directly with scientists to fulfill science communication responsibilities. Analyze needs of user groups by conducting surveys, leading meetings, researching current and new technologies to utilize as the creation medium (design software, web programming, paper, etc) and delivery medium (web, print, mobile, etc), and implement them in beta products for review and in final deliverables. Interpret complex scientific topics and concepts by interviewing experts and reviewing scientific content. Turn topics into products for research, outreach, and informational projects through various media including web, mobile, print, video, and etc.Essential
3030% Strategic Planning and Oversight Provide primary communications support for the Alaska Climate Adaptation and Science Center (AK CASC) and the Scenarios Network for Alaska and Arctic Planning (SNAP) with wide latitude to determine appropriate communication strategies, methods, and evaluations to achieve and maintain success. Provide secondary and backup communications support for the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) to include all aspects of communications tasks and responsibilities of the IARC Communications Lead position. Evaluate the positive and negative impacts that communication efforts have across multiple research units. Advise and train staff in various communications strategies, tools, and methods. Lead, plan, develop, and implement internal communication strategies to encourage effective and appropriate communications to maintain a positive and productive work environment. Lead, plan, develop, and implement external communication strategies to fulfill funded project requirements and successful scientific and technological transfer activities. Collaborate with the communications team to plan short and long-term design and marketing strategies and outline priorities to ensure multiple organizations can offer services to a wide audience. Collaborate in developing an overall marketing strategy to attract new user groups and specific strategies targeting university leadership and state and federal agencies. Recommend direction and strategies that engage multiple organizations, research groups, and other parent and partner organizations in order to build consensus, agreement, or to communicate research findings. Serve as a strategic advisor to SNAP Director, Coordinator, and Operations Lead and AK CASC Directors, Co-investigators, and other leadership on updates and trends in communication strategies in order to remain relevant to widely diverse markets and audiences for successful program marketing as well as funded project needs. Participate in organizational-wide planning meetings. Represent SNAP, the AK CASC, and IARC on committees, at workshops, and in the community. Ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. Serve as the Public Information Officer for SNAP and AK CASC, coordinating information requests from the media and external entities. Train student and temporary employees in communication methods, tools, and writing.Essential
4040% Graphic Design, Writing, Web-based Communications Create technical, scientific, and branding/marketing graphic designs for use in print, web, mobile, video, and social media formats for SNAP, AK CASC, IARC, and for externally funded project collaborators. Maintain specialization and expertise in industry-standard graphic design software (e.g. Adobe products). Maintain consistent use of branding across all science communication products within each scientific organization. Manage and contribute to social media accounts for SNAP and AK CASC by producing original and appropriate science-based content. Monitor and respond to social media comments using appropriate judgment aligned with institutional priorities. Write and edit news, feature stories, and press releases about notable scientific accomplishments and publicize these via social media, news releases, and state and national outlets. Review the work of peers and subordinates on a daily basis and provide constructive feedback to increase the quality of communications. Evaluate and suggest improvements to the user experience on websites and within scientific tools. Review, create, and update website content on Drupal and Wordpress websites.Essential

In this position, the successful candidate will support the science communication work of the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (AK CASC), the Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning (SNAP), and other research groups within IARC. The candidate will actively participate in research to highlight important results and implications that can inform policymakers and affect change, translate technical content, and create communication products. The applicant will join a team of professional communicators who synthesize and share UAF research with a variety of audiences inside and outside Alaska.

The Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center facilitates collaboration to meet climate change research and resource management needs statewide. We provide scientific information, tools, and techniques that communities, managers, and others interested in land, water, wildlife, and cultural resources can use to anticipate, monitor, and adapt to climate change.

The Scenarios Network for Alaska + Arctic Planning develops datasets, tools, and ideas to help Alaskans plan and adapt to our changing climate. We use a multiple scenarios approach to present projections of the future and explain uncertainties and implications of climate change impacts to ecosystems, wildlife, and people.

Funding for this position is secured through a long term collaboration between the USGS and the University of Alaska as well as through several multi-year research grants.


  • Ability to effectively communicate complex scientific topics and content to a diverse audience using varied and appropriate media platforms (print, web, video, etc.)
  • Ability to gather information via discussions with researchers and by reading and comprehending background information such as scientific papers and grant proposals.
  • Knowledge of communication industry standards
  • Ability to gauge the design needs of a broad audience
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills
  • Able to effectively communicate via multiple avenues (in person, telephone, email, chat, etc.)
  • Refined grammar, spelling, punctuation, editing, and composition skills with an eye for scientific accuracy, clarity, and appropriate style guidelines.
  • Well developed interpersonal skills to establish working relationships with scientists, staff, and others at the University and with external research partners.
  • Ability to work as a team member and communicate clearly with technical and non-technical team members.
  • Ability to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information and knowledge of how to navigate complex communication situations.
  • Ability to lead the work of others by the delegation of tasks, providing guidance, and reviewing work
  • Ability to develop communication strategies for short and long-range time horizons to meet the needs of research projects and scientific organizational needs.
  • Knowledge and experience using web content management systems
  • Expert knowledge of graphic design tools (Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.),
    Microsoft Office, and Google Drive (slides, forms, spreadsheets, word processing)
  • Ability to develop and design original products for use on websites and in print
  • Knowledge of modern web design techniques and how to design, develop, and maintain website content
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills.
  • Ability to research and apply new and complex technologies.
  • Ability to work and solve problems independently.
  • Knowledge about climate-related issues affecting Alaska.
  • Experience in communicating scientific concepts to a broad audience.
  • Experience in science communication in a research setting
  • Brand/marketing and public relations experience
  • Experience with technical and science writing
  • Experience in animation, motion graphics, sound, and/or video

Required Education and Experience:

Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Journalism, Communications or related field and three years of progressively responsible experience relevant to the position, or an equivalent combination of training and experience.


All candidates advanced to the interview stage will be required to complete a pre-interview assignment.

As a public, regional, comprehensive university, UAF is committed to building a culturally diverse and inclusive organization and strongly encourages women, minorities, individuals with disabilities, and veterans to apply.

Salary Information:

This position is a full-time, exempt, term-funded, Grade 79 with salary commensurate with experience.

Application Process:

To apply for this position, please provide a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references with your application.  Please submit your application no later than 10/21/2019 at 11:55 PM Alaska Time.  The review of this posting will start on 10/22/2019. This posting will be closed once it is filled.

If you need assistance applying to this posting, please contact GI - Office of Human Resources at 907-474-6498. 

Applicants needing a reasonable accommodation to participate in the application and screening process should contact the UA Human Resources office at 907-450-8200.

Digital Portfolio:

Please provide a link to 3-5 samples of communication products where you were directly involved in their conception and execution, and explain your role in each. These can include any communication products such as press releases, articles, gray or white papers, plans, design work, surveys, or descriptions of past communication efforts. Please provide at least one example of a graphic design product. Please limit submitted materials to a reasonable volume for the review team to consider. Quality over quantity is encouraged.

If you need assistance applying to this posting, please contact GI - Office of Human Resources at 907-474-6498.  Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application and screening process should contact the UAF Human Resources Office at 907-474-7700.

Background Check:

The successful applicant is required to complete a background check.  Any offer of employment is contingent on the background check.

Non-Represented Staff (Probationary Period):

Pursuant to University Regulation 04.07.020, new employees of the University are employed in an at-will probationary status for the first six months of employment.  During the probationary period, employment may be terminated for no reason or any reason.  Promoted employees also serve a probationary period with limited rights of retreat.

Term Positions:

This position is a term-funded position through June 30, 2020, and is reviewed annually for contract renewal at the University's discretion.


Pursuant to Board of Regents’ Policy 04.01.055.B, temporary, extended temporary, adjunct, student, casual labor, regular new hire probationary employees, and those positions designated by the presidents as officers and senior administrators of the university are employed at-will.

Training Policy:

It is the policy of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks that all employees are required to attend training to meet the requirements of the positions they hold and to complete the required training within a specified period of time to remain employed at UAF.  The policy can be located at

Tobacco-Free Campus:

UAF Campus is a tobacco-free campus.  For more information, please go to

Notice of Nondiscrimination:

The University of Alaska is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution.  The University of Alaska does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, citizenship, age, sex, physical or mental disability, status as a protected veteran, marital status, changes in marital status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, parenthood, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation or belief, genetic information, or other legally protected status.  The University's commitment to nondiscrimination, including against sex discrimination, applies to students, employees, and applicants for admission and employment.  Contact information, applicable laws, and complaint procedures are included on UA's statement of nondiscrimination available at


Advertised: Alaskan Daylight Time
Applications close: Alaskan Standard Time

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