Recruiting for UKRI and UK SBS

Communications Manager

220000I8 Requisition #

Science and Technology Facilities Council
Salary: £39,748 to £44,166 per annum (dependent on skills and experience). 
Hours: Full time
Contract Type: Fixed Term (12 months Maternity Cover)
Location: Science and Technology Facilities Council, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Harwell, Oxfordshire

About RAL Space
RAL Space is the UK’s national space laboratory. Our activities and our facilities enable scientific research in disciplines such as climate science, space weather and astronomy. With over 60 years of experience in space programmes, we have had significant involvement in more than 200 instruments on missions to date.
We run some of the UK’s most advanced space and science facilities and our experts work throughout the lifecycle of space missions. From leading concept studies for future spacecraft; developing bespoke scientific instrumentation; providing space test and calibration services; operating ground-stations to processing and analysing data. We bring together ideas to make the UK space community stronger. 

RAL Space is an integral part of the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and is the space hub for UK Research and Innovation. We employ more than 330 highly skilled staff in the heart of the Harwell Space Cluster and at the Chilbolton Observatory.

The Role
We are looking for a talented communicator, with the skills provide leadership for our departments’ external communications activities, a flair for developing engaging content and a keen interest in space. The role is part of RAL Space’s small, embedded communications team which is helping to connect the work of our department with our audiences through compelling storytelling.

We are looking for someone to join the team with strong interpersonal skills who will be able to quickly get to grips with complex subject matter and build relationships across the department. You will proactively seek out stories and ensure we are using best practice to share them with our audiences. You will be an experienced professional, confident to provide advice and support to our staff and to work with external partners to help protect and promote our brand in new and innovative ways.

This role is varied and interesting, with the opportunity to apply your full communications skillset in a fascinating subject area. Our team delivers stakeholder engagement, public outreach and marketing as well as internal and external communications, so you will be adept at managing multiple project and supporting the work of the wider team. You could find yourself commissioning videos of a new facility one day and writing a case study for a novel Earth observation technology on the next. 

Our team is small and friendly and punches above its weight on behalf of our department while being well respected within the wider STFC communications teams. This is a fantastic opportunity to work within the flourishing space sector and within a unique and influential organisation.

Although the topics and projects undertaken in the department are by their nature technical, a detailed technical or scientific background is not expected but an appreciation of science and a readiness to learn will be very important.

Summary of key duties and responsibilities 

  • Develop and implement communications strategies and campaigns that deploy a range of tools to raise awareness of RAL Space science, technology and facilities to key stakeholder groups 
  • Manage the RAL Space brand; lead on creating and maintaining consistent and appropriate messaging and visual materials 
  • Provide expert communications counsel to colleagues
  • Oversee RAL Space’s social media presence, keeping up to date with best practice
  • Oversee RAL Space’s website content including directing the ongoing update programme
  • Build relationships across the department to develop an understanding of the departments' work and needs of its communities 
  • Source and share newsworthy information from the department by producing articles, features and news stories. 
  • Proactively explore and develop relationships with partner organisations and key stakeholders 
  • Brief and liaise with journalists, opinion formers and production companies where required, working in conjunction with STFC central communications team 
  • Deputise for the Head of Communications where needed
  • Manage direct reports in the team

Contacts and Communication
RAL Space Communications Team, RAL Space staff (all levels), STFC and UKRI Communications and Engagement Teams, STFC business development teams, internal design teams

Industry and academic partners, key government, space sector, Harwell Campus stakeholders, members of the public, potential partners in traditional and non-traditional media  

Shortlisting and Interview Criteria

  • Educated to degree level or with relevant equivalent experience
  • Experience of planning, delivering, and evaluating communications campaigns
  • Experience of a wide range of communications tools and skills including:
    • media relations 
    • digital media platforms, including website and social media
    • events and stakeholder relations
    • managing creative suppliers
  • Experience managing a brand and developing messaging
  • Excellent communication abilities, both written and oral – quality of cover letter and presentation in interview
  • Good organisational/ resilience/ determination skills
  • Good interpersonal skills with experience managing small (virtual) teams to deliver projects
  • Enthusiasm for space, science and communications


  • Qualification in communications, such as Chartered Institute of Public Relations or Chartered Institute of Marketing
  • People management experience
  • Understanding of marketing and website management
  • Proficient in creative media packages, such as Photoshop, InDesign, PremierPro and Movie Maker
  • Experience explaining complex subject matter to a non-specialist audience

Additional information
This role will require you to be onsite at RAL for at least 60% of your time and may require some travel to other STFC sites where needed. STFC has a flexible working option but please note that will be occasional need for working outside of normal office hours.

About The Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) 

The STFC is a world-leading multi-disciplinary science organisation where curiosity, blue-skies thinking meets practical, application-led science and engineering. Our goal is to deliver economic, societal, scientific and international benefits to the UK and its people – and more broadly to the world. 

As one of Europe’s largest research organisations, we’re trusted to support, enable and undertake ground-breaking projects in an outstanding diversity of fields. Through world-class facilities and people, we’re driving progressive advances in science, engineering, computing and technology. Our research seeks to understand the Universe from the largest astronomical scales to the tiniest constituents of matter, yet creates impact on a very tangible, human scale. 

For more information about STFC please visit 

You can also visit our careers site 

About UK Research Innovation (UKRI) 

UKRI is an organisation that brings together the seven disciplinary research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Together, we build an independent organisation with a strong voice and vision ensuring the UK maintains its world-leading position in research and innovation. 

Supporting some of the world’s most exciting and challenging research projects, we develop and operate some of the most remarkable scientific facilities in the world. We are pushing the frontiers of human knowledge through fundamental research and delivering benefits for UK society and the economy through world-class research, skills and business-led innovation. 

More information can be found at  

Choosing to come to work at UKRI means that you will have access to a whole host of benefits from a defined benefit pension scheme, excellent holiday entitlement, access to employee shopping/travel discounts and salary sacrifice cycle to work scheme.  For more details, visit benefits of working for UKRI.

How we support EDI in the workforce 

At UKRI, we believe that everyone has a right to be treated with dignity and respect, and to be provided with equal opportunities to thrive and succeed in an environment that enables them to do so. We also value diversity of thought and experience within inclusive groups, organisations and the wider community. For further information, please visit ‘How we support EDI in the workforce’

Disability Confident Employer
As users of the disability confident scheme, we guarantee to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy/ies. We will ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided reasonable accommodation to participate in the job application or interview process, to perform essential job functions, and to receive other benefits and privileges of employment. Please contact us to request accommodation. 
How to apply 
Online applications only preferred for this role. Please submit a CV and covering letter which clearly outlines how you fulfil the criteria specified along with your motivation for UKRI and the role. Ensure that the job reference number is included in the filename description of each document uploaded. Note that failure to address the above criteria or submit an application without a covering letter may result in the application not being considered. Assessment will only be based upon the content of your submitted covering letter and CV and not the ‘experience’ section of the application. 

UKRI seeks to ensure it creates and maintains a system of openness, fairness and inclusion – a collaborative, trusted environment, which is attractive to and accessible to everyone who is interested in developing their career with us. 

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