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Scientific Communication Manager

Salk Institute for Biological Studies
San Diego, CA

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Administrative Jobs
Institutional & Business Affairs, Communications & Marketing
Employment Type
Full Time
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Job Details

Job location is at 10240 Science Center Dr, San Diego, CA 92121

The Manager, Scientific Communications researches, writes, edits, and proofs content for communicating the research and mission of the Salk Institute with our internal community, donors, media, members of the general public, and other stakeholders. The individual manages two direct reports, a Science Writer and Science Illustrator, as well as freelance contract writers and other vendors.


  • Develops a range of public-facing content for the Institute, including but not limited to: Institute magazine, press releases, pages, lab websites, podcast materials, brochures, video scripts, social media posts, exhibit copy, promotional materials, media advisories, tip sheets, biographies, leadership messages, talking points, development-related content that requires a high degree of scientific knowledge (e.g., for scientific campaign or initiative-specific appeals or proposals); and other science-related collateral.
  • Serves as a primary editor and copyeditor, overseeing the proofing and editing of all content, with an emphasis on senior faculty- and leadership-focused materials and those with urgent deadlines, to ensure adherence to Salk style and branding.
  • Develops and maintains positive working relationships with faculty and leadership to collect information and apply science communications best practices and expertise to translate research for a wide variety of lay audience materials. Ensures that final drafts are approved by scientists and other stakeholders.
  • Maintains relationships with scientific journals and publishers to best serve the Institute. This includes setting embargos and publication dates that will increase reporter engagement when possible. Collaborates with other external organizations, foundations, universities, and institutions to write, edit, and promote Salk’s science communication content.
  • Works in conjunction with the digital communications team to facilitate processes for timely publication of content on websites and through e-blasts. Edits and approves press release content before publishing.
  • Independently identifies appropriate photography, science images, and graphics for newsletters, press releases, Inside Salk and the web to couple with completed articles.
  • Serves as lead editor to continually update and maintain the Salk Style Guide.
  • In conjunction with video and AV staff, scripts, edits, and produces scientific video shoots, animation videos, and podcasts. Conducts interviews with scientists for video shoots to ensure the best and most powerful sound bites are captured accurately.
  • Assists with special event support and media relations as needed and as other priorities allow.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned by management.



  • Directly supervises 2 employees within the External Relations department(s), the Science Writer and Science Illustrator, to provide oversight, strategy, and guidance,
  • Oversees a team of freelance contract writers, including managing contracts, planning and forecasting budgets, assigning work, managing timelines, and editing copy.
  • Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws.
  • Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems; making recommendations for employee merit increases and other compensation actions.


  • 5+ years of experience writing and translating molecular/cell biology, neuroscience, or related life science topics for a general audience, based on reading primary research papers and interviewing scientists.
  • Previous experience working in a press office, media relations, or science journalism, including writing and editing news stories or press releases.
  • Must be an excellent writer, editor, and communicator who can work independently and in collaboration with scientists, faculty, leadership, and colleagues.
  • Basic knowledge of the scientific publication process.
  • Bachelor's Degree (BA) from four-year college or university in public relations, journalism, communications, biological sciences, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Master's Degree (MA/MS) in science journalism, communications, biological sciences, or related field preferred.
  • Computer skills required: Microsoft Office; Project Management Software, such as Asana and Slack
  • Other skills required: Excellent organizational skills with ability to prioritize daily operations to meet rigid deadlines, ensure smooth workflow, and manage and execute multiple projects simultaneously, often working under pressure with frequent interruptions.


  • Integrity - Guides our moral compass and underpins our every action. We do what is right in all situations for no other reason than because it is right. We uphold honesty and ethical behavior and make good on our commitments. We understand that words and deeds matter and that integrity leads to trust.
  • Community- Enables us to harness the power of our collective talents. We work together towards common goals. We recognize the importance of diversity where everyone’s ideas, identities, backgrounds, and perspectives are valued and pave the paths that propel us forward. We understand our pioneering role in the broader scientific community and take pride in our efforts to have a positive impact on the world.
  • Accountability - Keeps us focused, and keeps us honest. We are responsible not only for our own success, but the success of our teams and the entire Institute. We consider how the actions we take and the decisions we make in our own work may impact others.
  • Respect - Creates the foundation of trust and brings out the best in us all. We value the experiences, identities, and feelings of those we work with, regardless of their position or their relationship to us. We provide feedback in a constructive manner, use appropriate language, and allow others to share their thoughts and ideas without fear of ridicule.
  • Empowerment - Amplifies all voices and inspires the pursuit of greatness. We lift each other up, enabling us to grow continuously and live to our fullest potential. We support the expression of ideas, encourage self-advocacy, inspire confidence and recognize that an environment of mutual respect is critical to our collective success.
The expected pay range for this position is $82,000 to $95,220 per annum.Salk Institute provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the institute reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location, and external market pay for comparable jobs. 


  • Analytical - Synthesizes complex or diverse information
  • Judgement - Exhibits sound and accurate judgment; Supports and explains reasoning for decisions; Includes appropriate people in decision-making process; Makes timely decisions.
  • Managing People - Includes staff in planning, decision-making, facilitating and process improvement; Takes responsibility for subordinates' activities; Makes self available to staff; Provides regular performance feedback; Develops subordinates' skills and encourages growth; Improves processes, products and services.; Continually works to improve supervisory skills.
  • Oral Communication - Speaks clearly and persuasively in positive or negative situations; Listens and gets clarification; Responds well to questions; Demonstrates group presentation skills; Participates in meetings.
  • Organizational Support - Follows policies and procedures; Completes administrative tasks correctly and on time; Supports organization's goals and values; Benefits organization through outside activities; Supports affirmative action and respects diversity.
  • Project Management - Develops project plans; Coordinates projects; Communicates changes and progress; Completes projects on time and budget; Manages project team activities.
  • Written Communication - Writes clearly and informatively; Edits work for spelling and grammar; Varies writing style to meet needs; Presents numerical data effectively; Able to read and interpret written information.


  • Occasionally required to stand
  • Occasionally required to walk
  • Continually required to sit
  • Continually required to utilize hand and finger dexterity
  • Continually required to talk or hear
  • Occasionally exposure to wet and/or humid conditions (non-weather)
  • Occasionally exposure to outside weather conditions
  • While performing the duties of this job, the noise level in the work environment is usually very quiet
  • The employee must occasionally lift and /or move 0-20 pounds
  • Specific vision abilities required by this job include: Close vision; Depth perception and ability to adjust focus

The above is intended to describe the general content of and requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities, or physical requirements.  Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. All individuals who accept a position with the Salk Institute must be willing to work in an animal-related research environment, must successfully complete the Institute’s background investigation and must be willing to sign a confidentiality agreement.

The Salk Institute is an internationally renowned research institution that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. We seek bold and interactive leaders passionate about exploring new frontiers in science. Our collaborative community embraces diverse perspectives and unique life experiences, fostering innovation, and a sense of belonging. Together, we strive to improve the wellbeing of humanity through groundbreaking research.


Working at Salk Institute for Biological Studies

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is one of the world's preeminent basic research institutions, where internationally renowned faculty probe fundamental life science questions in a unique, collaborative, and creative environment. Focused on both discovery and mentoring future generations of researchers, Salk scientists make groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of cancer, aging, Alzheimer's, diabetes, and cardiovascular disorders by studying neuroscience, genetics, cell and plant biology, and related disciplines.

Faculty achievements have been recognized with numerous honors, including Nobel Prizes and memberships in the National Academy of Sciences. Founded in 1960 by polio vaccine pioneer Jonas Salk, M.D., the Institute is an independent nonprofit organization and architectural landmark.

Salk Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Statement

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies is committed to providing equal access to opportunities for students, employees, applicants for employment and other persons.

Our policies prohibit harassment or unlawful discrimination against individuals on the basis of sex, gender, marital or parental status, pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, medical conditions/disabilities related to pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation age, ancestry, color, religion (including religious dress and grooming practices), family and/or medical care leave status, disability (mental or physical), registered domestic partner status, legally protected medical condition, genetic information, military or veteran status (disabled veteran, veteran of the Vietnam era, other covered veteran status), national origin (including language use restrictions and possession of a driver’s license), race, religion or any other classification protected by local, state or federal laws.

The Salk Institute participates in the E-Verify program.

Reasonable accommodation is available for qualified individuals with disabilities and for individuals with religious restrictions.

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