Science Communicator

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  • Job Number:522120
  • Classification:Communications Specialist 4
  • Grade:Grade 79
  • Work type:On Campus, Staff Full-time
  • Administrative Unit:University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • School/Business unit:UAF Vice Chancellor for Research
  • Location:Fairbanks
  • Categories: Communications/Public Relations/Marketing, Research/Science/Grants

Position Summary:

Are you a communicator who also loves science? Would you like to oversee outreach and communications in the biological and health sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks? The Institute of Arctic Biology supports cutting-edge research in high-latitude systems, encompassing wildlife, physiology, genetics and evolutionary biology, ecology, microbiology, biomedical and behavioral science and bioinformatics. Major research programs include the Alaska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Alaska IDeA Networks for Biomedical Research Excellence, Bonanza Creek Long Term Ecological Research program, Center for Alaska Native Health Research, Center for Transformative Research in Metabolism, and Toolik Field Station. The IAB Science Communicator will write, design and edit major communications for IAB, disseminate research stories, create content for the IAB website and social media accounts, and coordinate public outreach events. This position is located on the Fairbanks campus and will be primarily onsite with opportunities for occasional remote work.


1-40%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 the Institute of Arctic Biology (IAB) and AK INBRE and for externally funded project collaborators. Maintain consistent use of branding across all science communication products within IAB. Manage and contribute to social media accounts for IAB and AK INBRE 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 the IAB website hosted on OU Campus.Essential
2-30%Strategic Planning and Oversight Provide primary communications support for the Institute of Arctic Biology (IAB) with wide latitude to determine appropriate communication strategies, methods, and evaluations to achieve and maintain success. 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 IAB leadership and project leads and communication staff to plan short and long-term design and marketing strategies. Collaborate in developing an overall marketing strategy to attract new user groups and specific strategies targeting university leadership and state and federal agencies. Serve as a strategic advisor to IAB Director, Coordinator, and Operations Lead and AK INBRE Directors 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 IAB on committees, at workshops, and in the community. Coordinate IAB participation at public events Ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and policies. Serve as the Public Information Officer for IAB, coordinating information requests from the media and external entities. Train student and temporary employees in communication methods, tools, and writing.Essential
3-30%Project Coordination, Research, and Interpretation Collaborate in planning, designing, and producing new and engaging products to further the organizational missions of IAB. Serve as research staff on externally funded research projects by working directly with scientists to fulfill science communication responsibilities. 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
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:
  • 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 communication needs of a broad audience
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills
  • Ability 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 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.
  • 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
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills.
  • Ability to research and apply new and complex technologies.
  • Ability to work and solve problems independently.
  • 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.
Required Education or Training:
Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Journalism, Communications or related field or a Bachelor’s degree in a scientific discipline with strong communications experience, and three years of progressively responsible experience relevant to the position, or an equivalent combination of training and experience.
Salary Information:

This is a full-time, 12-month, exempt staff position complete with both a competitive salary and full employee benefits package. New hires will be placed on the UA staff salary schedule, Grade 79, based on education and experience. 

UA provides a generous compensation package that includes excellent benefits including retirement options, annual leave, 12 paid holidays per year, tuition waivers for employees and family members, and affordable medical, dental and vision care coverage. 

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

Special Instructions to Applicants:

Please attach a resume, cover letter, and the names and contact information (email address and phone number) for three (3) professional references with your application.  Please provide one or more sample communication product (could be a link to a website or social media feed, a flier, a press release or story, etc), with a short explanation of your role in creating the product

The review process for applications will be begin on November 7, 2022. Applications must be received prior to 11:55 PM Alaska time on November 6, 2022, to be considered. Applications received after this time and date may not be considered for this position.  To ensure consideration, please apply prior to the review date.

UAF COVID Requirements:

Effective immediately, all new UAF hires, whose job function or work location results in the employee being subject to the UAF vaccine requirements guided by the Federal Contractor Employee vaccine mandate*, must be fully vaccinated with an FDA- or WHO- authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine or have obtained a university-approved disability/medical or religious exemption no later than six weeks from the new hire's start date.

*Employees based on UAF’s Troth Yeddha’ (Fairbanks) campus, regardless of university affiliation and remote work status; Employees based in UAF research units outside Fairbanks (including Seward Marine Center, Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center, HAARP, Poker Flat, Lena Point, and Toolik Field Station); and Employees, regardless of their work location, paid by or directly working on impacted UAF federal contract.

*To be eligible for this position, applicants must be legally authorized to work in the United States without restriction.  Applicants who now or may in the future require visa sponsorship to work in the United States are not eligible.

The University of Alaska (UA) is responsible for providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities throughout the applicant screening process. If you need assistance in completing this application or during any phase of the interview process, please contact UA Human Resources by phone at 907-450-8200.

UA is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual:

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

Your application for employment with the University of Alaska is subject to public disclosure under the Alaska Public Records Act.

If you have any questions regarding this position, please contact Abby Dunham, HR Coordinator, Institute of Arctic Biology, at or (907) 474-7463.

Advertised: Alaskan Daylight Time
Applications close:

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