Visiting Outreach and Communications Specialist - Soybean Innovation Lab, Agricultural and Consumer

Champaign, IL
Mar 04, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Position: Visiting Outreach and Communications Specialist- Soybean Innovation Lab, Agricultural and Consumer Economics

Background: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the lead institution of the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Soybean Value Chain Research (Soybean Innovation Lab, "SIL") funded by USAID. SIL's mission is to provide researchers, extensionists, the private sector, NGOs, and funders operating across the entire value chain the critical information needed for successful soybean development.

Primary Position Function/ Summary: The primary function of the SIL Visiting Outreach and Communications Specialist is to, under the direction of the SIL Principal Investigator and Managed Research Area (MRA) Principal Investigators, lead and manage the efforts of SIL's communication platform. This involves managing the external and internal communications efforts of the SIL research platform to enhance the visibility, impact and achievements of the Soybean Innovation Lab.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Develop a high volume of compelling content that creates, develops, and refines SIL outreach and messaging, in partnership with project researchers, to increase the visibility, impact, awareness and overall achievement and output of the project.

Lead strategic content development and outreach efforts, including planning, writing, and editing that strengthen external relationships with researchers, partners, donors, friends, and influencers.

Combine creative writing with research and interviews to elicit emotion and action from an audience of one or many.

Work collaboratively with researchers and partners to tackle projects of all sizes on tight deadlines.

Apply the most effective and appropriate outreach assets to fundraising and engagement communications.

Provide leadership for project outreach efforts across traditional, social, and interactive platforms.

Stay current on outreach and messaging trends assessing and communicating their potential impact to the research team.

Develop content and manage SIL communication platforms including website, portal, Twitter feed, and Facebook as well as for print media (newsletters, handouts, flyers, brochures, etc.), social media, traditional media, television, radio and internet platforms.

Create and execute a strategic outreach campaign designed to build a cohesive brand and messaging platform for the project.

Responsible to update, edit and modify existing SIL content as necessary.

Collaborate on grant proposal development to expand the Soybean Innovation Lab program through the acquisition of additional funding.

Undertake overseas travel to gain first-hand knowledge of the Soybean Innovation Lab scope, target beneficiaries, international partners and stakeholders as well as the Soybean Innovation Lab's goals, objectives and desired output.

Represent the SIL program at domestic and international events including preparation and delivery of presentations to stakeholders and partners.

Participate in SIL researcher and USAID conference calls and meetings and provide guidance and training to undergraduate research interns, SIL researchers and partners on developing communication materials, platforms and strategies.

Become familiar with the role of soybean in agricultural and international development to ensure working knowledge of current research findings, innovation, and technologies.


Minimum Education Required: Bachelor's degree

Education Preferred: Master's degree

Experience Required: Experience in writing and other media production demonstrated by a proven portfolio.

Position: The position is classified as a 100%-time visiting appointment. This position may become non-visiting at a later time, dependent upon funding and programmatic needs.

Salary/Appointment: Commensurate with education and experience. The starting date will as soon as possible after the closing date.

Procedures: Candidate profiles should be created and letters of application and resume uploaded at To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by March 24, 2017. Applicants may be interviewed before closing date; however, no hiring decision will be made until after that date. All requested information must be submitted for your application to be considered. For further information, candidates may contact Melissa Warmbier, 217-333-8859,

The University of Illinois conducts criminal background checks on all job candidates upon acceptance of a contingent offer.

Illinois is an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, status as a protected veteran, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or criminal conviction history. Illinois welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity. (

Organization Name: Agr and Consumer Economics
College Name or Administrative Unit: ACES
Category: Academic Professional
Open Date: 03/03/2017
Close Date: 03/24/2017


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