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Job Details

Requisition Number 17-0016
Post Date 1/19/2017
Title Communications Manager
City Tucson
State AZ

The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. (AURA) operates several observatory centers (including the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, the National Solar Observatory, Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) and the Gemini Observatory) in the United States and Chile under cooperative agreements with the National Science Foundation.

LSST is a large aperture, wide-field, ground-based facility designed to survey the entire southern sky down to faint magnitudes in six optical colors every few nights. As such it will enable a broad array of diverse scientific investigations ranging from studies of moving objects in the solar system to constraining the structure and evolution of the universe as a whole. Through an ambitious Education and Public Outreach (EPO) program, non-specialists will access LSST data products to actively engage in science discovery and the research process, gaining awareness, skills, and knowledge. LSST EPO will be at the forefront of highlighting the facility's unique contributions, including time domain science (supernova, gamma-ray bursts, asteroids, comets), galactic structure (tidal streams, dark matter), exoplanet discovery, and dark energy.

The Communications Manager is responsible for developing, implementing, and managing LSST’s internal and external communications strategy. Working to serve a range of audiences including the broad astronomy community, the public, media, internal project staff, and Chilean interests, the Communication Manager directs the communications team to collect, generate, update, and distribute information (both digital and print) on the LSST websites, events, conferences, press releases, astronomy/education listservs, and social media outlets.

Essential Functions:

  • Work with senior management to develop and implement LSST’s communications strategy and handbook.
  • Develop and manage an annual budget for LSST’s communications activities and establish metrics for measuring the performance of those activities.
  • Foster positive and productive working relationships with project staff, including the Education and Public Outreach team, those in Chile, and relevant external public information officers to identify communications opportunities.
  • Manage the maintenance of LSST’s websites and blog, including creating and refreshing content on a regular basis.
  • Curate and refresh content for LSST’s official social media channels and digital signage.
  • Attend and manage LSST’s outreach presence at scientific conferences (e.g., AAS, SPIE, IAU).
  • Support the LSST Project Office in reporting project progress, organizing meetings, and conference support.
  • Manage the development, distribution, and maintenance of print and electronic collateral, including (but not limited to): brochures, the weekly News Digest, and quarterly E-News.
  • Act as the LSST Public Information Officer, responsible for responding to media inquiries as well as coordinating creation and distribution of press releases.
  • Manage the Digital Asset Management effort to collect, categorize, and document high-quality multi-media assets for use by the project, media, and outreach.
  • Oversee third-party production of multi-media content for internal and external audiences.
  • Bachelor’s degree in astronomy, science communications, journalism, or related field. Higher level degree preferred.
  • Experience working in science writing, outreach, or PR/Media in a science-based environment with demonstrated project management ability. Minimum five years experience preferred.
  • The ability to transform scientific and technical knowledge into engaging messages, and to disseminate it to the right audiences through effective distribution channels.
  • Ability to lead communications discussions at both strategic and tactical levels.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Ability to function in a distributed and dynamic work environment, and build relationships with colleagues both in and out of the Project
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks under time pressure.
  • Attention to details and commitment to achieving high quality results.
  • Proficiency in knowledge and use of Microsoft Office products, Adobe Creative Suite
  • Responsibilities may require occasionally working evenings and weekends.

Please list 3 professional references in your application. Please attach a statement of professional interests or cover letter and CV or resume (PDF Files preferred) to your application. Please name any attachments with the following format: 17-0016LastnameDocname. Application documents that are not uploaded as part of the application may be sent to

AURA, as a leader in the astronomical community, is committed to diversity and inclusion. AURA 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

As a recipient of U.S. Government funding, AURA is considered a government contractor and is subject to Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action regulations. As an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer, AURA does not discriminate based on race, sex, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity/gender identity expression, lawful political affiliations, veteran status, disability, and/or any other legally protected status under applicable federal, state, and local equal opportunity laws. The statements below as well as the requests for self-identification are required pursuant to these regulations. We encourage your participation in meeting these federal reporting requirements which are included for protection and to assist us in our recordkeeping and reporting. Your responses are kept strictly confidential.

Preference granted to qualified Native Americans living on or near the Tohono O'odham reservation.


  • Equal Opportunity Employer/Protected Veterans/Individuals with Disabilities.
  • Please view Equal Employment Opportunity Posters provided by OFCCP here.
  • The contractor will not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against employees or applicants because they have inquired about, discussed, or disclosed their own pay or the pay of another employee or applicant. However, employees who have access to the compensation information of other employees or applicants as a part of their essential job functions cannot disclose the pay of other employees or applicants to individuals who do not otherwise have access to compensation information, unless the disclosure is (a) in response to a formal complaint or charge, (b) in furtherance of an investigation, proceeding, hearing, or action, including an investigation conducted by the employer, or (c) consistent with the contractor's legal duty to furnish information.
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