Public Information Officer

Submission Information
Publish Date: 
Saturday, August 29, 2020
Archive Date: 
Saturday, September 26, 2020
Job Summary
Job Category: 
Institution Classification/Type: 
United States of America
Job Announcement Text: 

Launched in October 2019, NSF’s NOIRLab is the US national center for ground-based night-time astronomy. This new national lab includes the operations of Gemini Observatory, Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO), Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO), a Community Science and Data Center, and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory. NOIRLab operates as a matrix organization, providing services across a range of programs with facilities in three geographic locations: Arizona, Chile, and Hawai’i. With a staff of approximately 450 people and an annual budget of one hundred million dollars, NOIRLab has a complex set of partnerships and operating requirements. While the principal sponsor of NOIRLab is the National Science Foundation, the Lab receives funds from the US Department of Energy, NASA, and the other US and international institutions in support of a wide range of activities.

All communication, education, and public engagement work in NOIRLab (including Gemini, KPNO, CTIO, CSDC, and Rubin Observatory operations) is integrated into a shared services unit called Communications, Education & Engagement (CEE). The CEE group consists of approximately 19 staff including communications specialists, educators, graphics professionals, and other content professionals. The CEE division is responsible for telling the story of NOIRLab and its Programs in a cohesive and coordinated manner that is tailored to each of its target audiences. 

As a critical member of the CEE group, we are now hiring a Public Information Officer (PIO). This full-time position brings opportunities for the development and improvement of new processes, and for delivering innovative communications materials targeted for a range of stakeholders. The position offers excellent opportunities to work in an exciting and diverse environment as well as for professional growth and advancement. 

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

Working as part of CEE’s Communications Group the PIO is charged with the production of part of NOIRLab communication products targeting external and internal audiences. The PIO is responsible for coordinating the production of communications products including press releases, photo releases, web announcements, and staff announcements. The work involves aspects of science writing, editing, and coordination of audiovisuals. The PIO is also responsible for the implementation of the social media plan. 

  • Implementing the production and dissemination of press releases, external announcements, and other external news products;
  • Coordinating the integration of written and visual material in the development of audiovisual products;
  • Implements the social media tactical plan including managing the production of posts and maintenance of online communities;
  • Assists with the production of internal news products including the internal newsletter;
  • Coordinate and develop content for the website, including the production of new pages, Spanish translations, and coordinate updates to existing pages; 
  • Participating in the ongoing process of improving NOIRLab’s strategy for external and internal communications;
  • Supporting communication activities at professional conferences and workshops;
  • Participation and engagement with colleagues at professional communications meetings.

The ideal candidate will have the following attributes:

  • A demonstrated passion for science communication;
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to lead and coordinate projects and work effectively and efficiently on a wide range of parallel activities;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and an interest in internal and external organizational communication;
  • The ability to collaborate with people from diverse backgrounds, countries, and cultures;
  • Be results-oriented — delivering prompt and efficient service on multiple concurrent projects under tight deadlines;
  • Strong analytical skills and ability to anticipate/identify problems and provide workable solutions independently;
  • Be proactive, highly motivated and able to work effectively both in a team and independently;
  • Flexibility and willingness to adapt to changes in tasks are required;
  • Able to contribute ideas for improvements while following departmental procedures and workflows; document new and updated procedures when necessary, in a manner that colleagues can implement.

Required Qualifications: 

  • Bachelor’s degree in astronomy, physics, communications or a related field or equivalent…….;
  • Three years of experience working as a professional public science communicator;
  • Demonstrated experience in project coordination and leadership (ideally in science outreach, news or marketing);
  • Sufficient astronomy background to fully understand and communicate the main points of astronomy research papers;
  • Native language level in written English and fluent language level in spoken English;
  • Ability and willingness to travel internationally.

Preferred Qualifications: 

  • Master’s degree or PhD in astronomy or physics;
  • Demonstrated experience in effectively using social and new media as an external and internal organizational communication tool;
  • Experience working with the US and international media;
  • Experience supporting projects or organizations that are supported by US federal funding
  • Experience developing written staff communications ranging in scope from an entire organization to a business unit;
  • Advanced proficiency and comfort with giving presentations to audiences of scientists and media.

Location: The position is based in Tucson, Arizona. However, a successful internal applicant may alternatively be able to remain in their current working location.

AURA offers competitive salaries based on market rates and a generous package of benefits.

We are committed to diversity and inclusion at NOIRLab.  Our managing organization, AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, develops and supports programs that advance our organizational commitment to diversity, broaden participation, and encourage the advancement of diversity throughout the astronomical scientific workforce. Learn more at

Please submit a cover letter and a CV or resume that describes your interest in this position and your relevant experience, PDF files preferred. Please name any attachments with the following format:  LastnameDocname. Please provide contact information of 3 professional references in your application, references will be contacted later in the recruiting process. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to 

Preference will be given to qualified internal candidates and to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.

The first review of applications will begin on September 11, 2020.  This position will remain open until filled.

Veterans, disabled individuals or wounded warriors needing assistance with the employment process should request assistance at

*NOIRLab has all staff working virtually during the COVID-19 crisis. The safety of our staff and community is our top priority. We will continue to interview and screen candidates in this new virtual landscape. Offers of employment can be extended and arrangements may be made for remote work. Relocation benefits will be available to those eligible when travel can be supported.

Additionally, all employment is contingent on establishing eligibility to work in the United States, including obtaining an appropriate visa, if necessary.  Work outside of the United States is not permitted.

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) is a consortium of over 40 US institutions and three international affiliates that operates world-class astronomical observatories. AURA’s role is to establish, nurture, and promote public observatories and facilities that advance innovative astronomical research. AURA is responsible for managing the operations of NOIRLab, the National Solar Observatory, and the construction of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation and operations of the Space Telescope Science Institute under contracts with NASA. 


Included Benefits: 

AURA provides a generous compensation package including health coverage, paid time off and retirement benefits.

Application Deadline: 
Sunday, September 27, 2020
Current Status of Position: 
Accepting Applicants
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