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Associate Communications Officer

Location: Geneva
Last Date: August 26, 2011
Email:  (Reference:

Associate Communications Officer (P-2)
Closing date: 28 Aug 2011
Vacancy number: ADM007

The Associate Communications Officer will undertake a range of tasks, including developing programme and project communication plans; engaging and building key audience groups and stakeholder networks; writing, editing, producing, designing and disseminating a range of outreach products (print, multimedia and other electronic formats); and organizing outreach events.

The work will cut across the outreach, communication and research spheres. As such, the Associate Communications Officer will become highly knowledgeable about both (i) the subject matter of research being undertaken in UNRISD programmes and projects, and (ii) the objectives, priorities and guiding principles of the Institute’s communication strategy. S/he will ensure that communication of UNRISD research and knowledge is appropriate, consistent and effective for key audience groups and relevant policy debates, thus contributing to the effectiveness, awareness and reputation of the Institute.

The successful candidate will combine a solid understanding of international development issues with excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a passion for promoting social development research to a range of audience groups. S/he will:

* be a self-starter, able to work well both independently and within a small team and to build and maintain excellent relationships with UNRISD staff, collaborating researchers and a range of other stakeholders;
* have experience of designing and implementing strategies and plans for the communication of development research to maximize its potential impact; and
* have a have proven ability to translate complex analysis and ideas into clear, message-oriented, accessible language and appropriate formats for a range of audiences.

Accuracy, an eye for detail and good design sense are essential.

Specific functions

1. Collaborate with research teams in developing and implementing outreach and communication plans for research projects, programmes and related activities. Provide expert advice and support to research teams on the communication sections of funding proposals. Ensure that programme/project plans are consistent with the Institute’s overall communication strategy and support the achievement of its objectives. Ensure that programme/project plans cover the basics of effective communication; frame issues in ways that facilitate the shaping of debates and alternatives, and entice people to become interested in the research; and that outputs are linked to issues in policy debates and agendas.

2. Help identify strategic partners and points of entry for UNRISD’s research. Build relationships and engage with key audience groups and stakeholder networks at project and programme levels in support of UNRISD’s networking and partnership strategies. Undertake regular scanning of the "social development horizon" to identify gaps and opportunities for UNRISD research and knowledge to make an impact on policy debates and processes at national, regional and global levels, and among United Nations, donor, academic and civil society audiences.

3. Write, edit, produce, design and/or coordinate the outsourcing of (as required) different types of communication tools and outreach products that maximize accessibility, utility and engagement around UNRISD research in order to increase its use and influence among identified audience groups. Tools and products may include research summaries, fact sheets, brochures, backgrounders, briefs, news and feature articles, OpEd pieces, web pages, blogs, interviews, multimedia products (podcasts, videos), social media posts, online discussions, etc. As an UNRISD brand guardian, ensure that communication outputs are consistent with UNRISD’s overall objectives and messaging.

4. Perform a key liaison function between the outreach and communication team and research teams. Attend outreach and communication team meetings and remain fully briefed on workplans, strategic priorities and institute-wide initiatives. Attend research team meetings and remain fully briefed on workplans, programme directions and project portfolio. Hold meetings across teams to consider strategic directions, review plans and coordinate work.

5. Contribute to the ongoing improvement of project/programme outreach and communications in ways that enhance the visibility and positioning of UNRISD as a whole. Monitor the effectiveness of products, channels and messages among key audience groups, track and report on potential impacts and results, and suggest adjustments as necessary. Actively solicit feedback on use and influence through targeted survey tools and other methods. Use this information to ensure that UNRISD research, products and channels of outreach remain relevant, and as a source of user perspectives and stories of influence in reports, brochures, etc.

6. Contribute to the organization of outreach activities and events that promote UNRISD researchers as experts in their respective fields and showcase the topical relevance of UNRISD research. These may include a lead role in the development and coordination of "UNRISD Debates", events (and related outputs, such as podcasts or interviews) to bring together policy makers, NGOs and academics, including young Southern researchers, to share and debate new and alternative perspectives of relevance to the international development community, and UN processes in particular. Other activities may include announcing interim research findings and/or comments from researchers on a regular basis (and helping to identify related news pegs and influencing opportunities); writing/editing and disseminating comment by UNRISD researchers on major international social or economic issues to highlight the contemporary, topical relevance of UNRISD research; and, as required, organizing media briefings, preparing related materials and assisting staff to prepare for media interviews.

Other activities
1. Proactively use, contribute to, maintain and update the publication and outreach calendars and other planning, tracking and reporting tools.
2. Provide ad hoc support with other regular communications duties, as needed, including coordination of outsourced assignments.
3. Work with other members of the Publication and Dissemination Unit, and support their learning objectives by involving them in the planning, development implementation and monitoring of communication products and activities.

Desirable knowledge, skills and competencies
1. Communication

* Strong overall communication skills, especially writing and editing.
* Ability to summarize complex analysis and ideas in clear, message-oriented, accessible language.
* Listens to others, correctly interprets messages from others and responds appropriately; asks questions to clarify, and engages actively in two-way communication.

2. Professionalism

* Good understanding of international development issues.
* Knowledge of the development sector, networks and organizations (including the UN).
* Knowledge of current thinking and practice in development research communications, including both traditional and new media.
* Basic principles of design for both print and electronic media; ability to lay out documents professionally.
* Strategic planning; ability to turn plans into practical action and to establish priorities among simultaneous tasks.

3. Teamwork

* Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to liaise and communicate with research and other staff, at all levels of seniority.
* Openness in sharing information and keeping people informed.

4. Technological awareness

* Keeps abreast of available technology.
* Understands applicability and limitation of technology to the work of the office.
* Actively seeks to apply technology to appropriate tasks; shows willingness to learn new technology.

The ideal candidate will possess
1. Advanced university degree.
2. Fluent written and spoken English. Working knowledge of French or Spanish (or another UN language) an asset.
3. A mimimum of two years experience in a comparable communications post in a development agency or research institute (or four years with a first-level degree).
4. Experience working in international environments and of working with international networks.

Shortlisted applicants will be asked to provide samples of their previous work.

The deadline for applications is 28 August 2011 (Midnight, Central European Time)

If you are interested in the position, please apply online by clicking the button below.

Kindly note that due to limited staff resources only those candidates who are shortlisted will be contacted.

Information on vacancies at the Institute is posted on this website. We encourage you to subscribe to our free email alerts service to be informed promptly of any openings.

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