Science Communicator, International Arctic Research Center (IARC)

Post Date: 9/06/2023
Opportunity Type: Job
Organization/Grantor: International Arctic Research Center (IARC), University of Alaska
Position/Title/Fund: Science Communicator
Type/Term: Full-time, Staff
Location: Anchorage, Fairbanks, or Juneau, AK
Salary: Competitive, Grade 79
Deadline: September 24, 2023

Make a difference in the lives of Alaskans. Join the talented and multidisciplinary workforce dedicated to supporting science for decision making in climate change adaptation. As a member of the communications team, the Science Communicator will be responsible for leading the development and creation of content about climate change adaptation and supporting the goals of the Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (AK CASC). The primary responsibility is finding and telling compelling, accurate, high quality stories about climate change science and adaptation for multiple communication channels. This person will work in a synergistic environment, with AK CASC staff, scientists, decision makers, and other partners. This position will also serve as the point of contact for the news media, and they’ll contribute to graphic design, project management, and strategic planning.


  • 40% Content Planning, Development, and Creation: The position will shape how the AK CASC is portrayed to the public, media, and other constituents. They will collaborate closely with AK CASC staff, researchers, decision-makers, and partners to create compelling, accurate content for diverse audiences. Specifically, this person will: -Ideate, report, write, and edit content on climate change science and adaptation for both internal and external audiences. -Conduct interviews, perform research, review primary literature, and conduct thorough fact-checking to produce accurate, relevant, and timely content. -Craft feature articles, project and individual profiles, press releases, case studies, and other science-based written material, aligning with the AK CASC's voice and communication standards. -Interpret and clearly convey complex scientific topics and concepts. -Share, distribute, and adapt content for delivery through various channels, such as print, websites, social media, radio, email, and/or video. -Develop a content strategy and editorial calendar that supports and advances the organization's short and long-term goals. -Create, manage, and update content on websites, including staff and scientist profiles, publications, news features, and project pages. -Work with contributors, graphic designers, photographers, and videographers to acquire high-quality imagery that complements content. -Apply industry guidelines like the Chicago Manual of Style, APA, and university editing and publishing standards. -Adhere to established processes and meet publication schedules. -Collaborate with peers, review their work, and provide constructive feedback to enhance the overall quality of communications.
  • 20% External Relations: This position will act as the primary liaison between the AK CASC and affiliated researchers and the news media. Specifically, this person will: -Assume the role of Public Information Officer for the AK CASC, handling information requests from the media and external entities. -Draft press releases and pitch compelling stories to news and other journalistic outlets. -Manage, build, and nurture productive, professional relationships with local, regional, and national media and other relevant organizations. -Capitalize on significant climate moments to share relevant stories. -Collaborate with the USGS, and University of Alaska and other public information officers to co-develop and pitch news releases.
  • 20% Graphic Design: This position will create basic graphics and/or visualizations, contribute to the development of visual information, and adhere to established brand guidelines. Specifically, this person will: -Brainstorm and contribute innovative ideas for visually presenting scientific information in engaging ways. -Possess familiarity with graphic design principles and have basic proficiency in graphic design software (e.g., Adobe Creative Suite, Canvas). -Transfer content and images into web and print templates, apply formatting styles, and editing content to fit space constraints. -Comply with the established AK CASC brand guidelines and other formatting requirements.
  • 10% Project Management and Collaboration: This position will oversee the planning, coordination, and production of compelling communication products that meet the needs of specific research projects and align with the AK CASC's mission. Specifically, this person will: -Work closely with AK CASC staff and affiliated scientists to collaboratively define science communication objectives and make plans to meet those objectives. -Create project plans with clearly defined deliverables, role assignments, and timelines. -Develop, plan, create, and update specific communication products independently or in collaboration with others. -Supervise the publishing, printing, and distribution of communication products. -Manage related operations work, including scheduling and leading meetings, developing agendas, taking notes, and distributing action items. -As needed, contribute to other externally funded projects and activities and to enable successful scientific and technological transfer activities.
  • 10% Strategic Planning and Oversight: This position will contribute to strategic communication plans that advance the AK CASC's mission and the work of affiliated research projects. Specifically, this person will: -Assist in creating an overall AK CASC communications strategy. -Collaborate with the communications team to define and work towards short and long-term goals and objectives. -Support other employees, contractors, researchers, and students with communications activities, tools, and writing. -Coordinate and collaborate with other communications and public relations staff to optimize resources and ensure mutual benefits. -Ensure compliance with applicable laws, regulations, policies and procedures. -Advance diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. -Additional responsibilities as assigned.


  • Experience ideating and crafting compelling content that effectively communicates complex scientific topics for a broad spectrum of audiences and communication channels.
  • Outstanding writing and editing skills; refined grammar, spelling, punctuation, and composition skills with an eye for accuracy, clarity, and use of style guides.
  • Able to gather, comprehend, translate, and convey complex science and technical information via interviews and by reading and comprehending background information such as scientific papers and grant proposals.
  • Knowledge of and experience with Microsoft Office, Google Drive (slides, forms, spreadsheets, word processing), graphic design tools (Adobe Creative Suite, Canvas, etc.), and web content management systems.
  • Knowledge about current and developing climate-related issues affecting Alaska.
  • Familiarity with one or more natural or physical science disciplines, such as ecology, geology, geography, biology, etc.
  • Familiarity with news and journalism standards and requirements, branding and marketing, and public relations.
  • Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills and able to effectively communicate via multiple avenues (in person, telephone, email, chat, etc.)
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills.
  • -Leadership/mentorship skills; ability to coach and train others in areas of expertise.
  • Well-developed interpersonal skills to establish working relationships with scientists, staff, and others the university, USGS, and with the media.
  • Highly organized and detail-oriented, self-driven and able to adapt to learning and implementing new technologies, and creative in solving issues as they arise.
  • Demonstrates self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and partners across diverse cultures and backgrounds.
  • Ability to communicate clearly, collaborate, and work effectively with a diverse people in team settings.
  • Ability to maintain the confidentiality of sensitive information and navigate complex communication situations.
  • Ability to lead the work of others by delegation of tasks, providing guidance, and reviewing work.
  • Ability to work and solve problems independently.


  • Bachelor's degree in Journalism, Public Relations, English, Communications or related field and three years of progressively responsible experience relevant to the position, or an equivalent combination of training and experience.
  • Experience communicating scientific topics for a broad spectrum of audiences and communication channels. 


  • Master’s degree in Journalism, Public Relations, English, Communications or related field preferred.
  • Three years of experience focused on science or climate journalism, content creation, storytelling, or communications.
How to Apply:

Please attach a resume, cover letter, and the names and contact information for three (3) professional references with your application. In addition, submit three writing samples showcasing your versatility and ability to adapt to different tones and topics. Samples could include articles, blog posts, marketing copy, or any other relevant content. Please ensure that the submitted writing samples are solely your own work or collaborative work where you were the lead author. 

*The recruitment committee will begin reviewing applications on September 25, 2023.   To ensure full consideration you must apply by September 24, 2023 by 11:55 p.m.