Communications Manager

University of Newcastle

Salary: £33,348 to £35,308 with progression to £43,155 per annum

Newcastle University is a great place to work, with excellent benefits . We have a generous holiday package; plus the opportunity to buy more, great pension schemes and a number of health and wellbeing initiatives to support you.

Closing Date: 22 June 2023

The Role

Newcastle University are delighted to advertise this exciting opportunity for an experienced communications professional to join us as Communications Manager for the NIHR Public Health Responsive Studies Teams (PHIRST) . The NIHR Public Health Research Programme has appointed 6 academic teams (soon to be 10), via the PHIRST scheme. The teams are ready to work with local authorities to co-produce research on the public health impacts of initiatives. The academic teams are fully funded to co-design and undertake robust research in partnership with local authorities.  

The post will support all PHIRST’s at national level and be based within the Population and Health Sciences Institute in the Faculty of Medical Sciences.  Working as part of the PHIRST core leadership team, you will develop, implement and deliver the NIHR PHIRST communications strategy across key digital channels to raise the profile of PHIRST and its research to stakeholders locally, nationally and internationally.

You will have excellent writing skills and attention to detail with a proven ability to communicate complex material clearly and succinctly to a range of audiences with various accessibility requirements. You will be people focused, excellent at building relationships with key stakeholders and support a collaborative environment, fostering a culture of trust and mutual respect. You will be a team player and comfortable working with colleagues across different organisations to ensure the PHIRST work is communicated effectively to a diverse range of audiences, internally and externally.

A background in Higher Education or public health research is not essential.  We are interested in your transferrable skills, experience in delivering creative communications and how you would use these to support the delivery of the NIHR PHIRST strategy.

The position is available immediately, fixed Term for 24 months in the first instance, it is offered on a full- or part-time basis and we would be happy to discuss arrangements for flexible and/or blended working.  Please state your desired working arrangements in your application. 

Informal enquiries are welcomed. To discuss this role further, please contact the PHIRST Fusion Programme Manager Laura Ritson via e-mail [email protected]  

Key Accountabilities

  • Raise awareness of NIHR PHIRST and its research focus and values, to national and international stakeholders
  • Proactively research, develop/write, package and promote stories of research and  achievements, public involvement activities and research impact, working closely with colleagues to identify topics to promote and then communicating these to a specialist and non-specialist range of audiences via a PHIRST Newsletter, and a range of media
  • Take the lead on sourcing, developing and editing content of the PHIRST website, including, but not limited to, photographs, video, graphics and social media content
  • Work closely with the Press Offices within PHIRST host Institutions and the NIHR and Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC), to be the interface to facilitating the inclusion of NIHR PHIRST research stories in the press
  • Manage NIHR PHIRST social media accounts
  • Develop content strategies to drive visitors to the NIHR PHIRST website and create a plan to monitor and improve user experience and site performance. Undertake regular reviews of the content to ensure it is up to date, correct and fit for purpose.
  • Benchmark, track and report on website and social media analytics for the PHIRST website and social media accounts
  • Ensure messaging is integrated and aligned to wider NIHR, DHSC and Member University communications
  • Build and nurture highly productive relationships with colleagues across NIHR PHIRST, NIHR, DHSC and fellow NIHR communications colleagues nationally as well as colleagues in the regional and Newcastle University communications communities that share common goals with PHIRST
  • Work with colleagues within the PHIRST Management Teams to support event activities (including a quarterly seminar series) by providing communications expertise in this area, including the development of relevant publication materials, promotion of the event and any digital communications needed to promote or run the event
  • To lead on special projects as they arise within NIHR PHIRST
  • Any other relevant activities required by the Directors or Managers of the NIHR PHIRST’s

The Person

Knowledge, Skills and Experience

  • Demonstrable experience of delivering innovative and engaging communications using a variety of appropriate channels and techniques, to a wide variety of audiences, ensuring accessibility of communication to diverse audiences with different needs (e.g. easy read /screen reader accessible)
  • A proven track record in the production of print and online publications and publicity materials
  • Excellent writing skills and attention to detail with a proven ability to produce clear, concise copy for online and offline publication, and to summarise complex material clearly and succinctly for a range of audiences
  • Advanced IT skills including the use of Microsoft Office suite, in particular Word, Excel, and Outlook, and a high level of competency in researching information using the internet
  • Excellent planning, organisation and time management skills
  • Outstanding team working skills
  • Proven ability to use initiative, to think strategically and to adopt an active approach to problem solving
  • Experience of managing and monitoring social media channels
  • Experience of working with web-management software
  • Experience of working in a customer-focused environment
  • Experience of working to tight deadlines


  • Proficiency in the full range of Adobe Creative Suite Applications
  • Experience of working in a multi-disciplinary, collaborative environment

Attributes & Behaviours 

  • To be proactive and seek out relevant stories and activity and actively engage and promote these internally and externally
  • Confidence and professionalism in personal interactions with colleagues and a friendly demeanor, able to establish and maintain good working relationships with colleagues and others at all levels whilst having the ability to negotiate and influence where appropriate, both within and outside the University, to ensure high-quality communications
  • Ability to undertake independent research into a topic to inform communications activities
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team, working on own initiative and in juggling a busy workload, involving the management of multiple tasks
  • Flexible and adaptable in working with different disciplines and coping with changing and conflicting priorities; with a flexible approach to work, including a willingness to attend and assist with events held in the evening and at weekends


  • Educated to degree level or equivalent.


  • Relevant communications/marketing qualifications, e.g. CIM Professional Certificate, or equivalent

Newcastle University is a global University where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.  As a University of Sanctuary, we aim to provide a welcoming place of safety for all, offering opportunities to people fleeing violence and persecution.

We are committed to being a fully inclusive university which actively recruits, supports and retains colleagues from all sectors of society.  We value diversity as well as celebrate, support and thrive on the contributions of all of our employees and the communities they represent.  We are proud to be an equal opportunities employer and encourage applications from individuals who can complement our existing teams, we believe that success is built on having teams whose backgrounds and experiences reflect the diversity of our university and student population.

At Newcastle University we hold a silver Athena Swan award in recognition of our good employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.  We also hold a Race Equality Charter Bronze award in recognition of our work towards tackling race inequality in higher education REC.

In addition, we are a member of the Euraxess initiative supporting researchers in Europe. 

Requisition ID: 25546

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