Head of Education, Communications and Outreach


Job Reference: DG-2015-135-LD
Publication date:
Closing date:

CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, is one of the world's largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its core mission is the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and other elementary particles using high-energy accelerators; it addresses some of the most exciting outstanding questions in physics. The laboratory, based in Geneva (Switzerland), currently operates the most powerful accelerator in the world, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).


CERN is an Intergovernmental Organization with 21 Member States. It employs around 2500 staff members (physicists, engineers, technical and administrative personnel). Its research facilities are used by more than 11000 scientists, coming from more than 600 institutes from all over the world and representing nearly 100 different nationalities.


CERN is seeking to recruit a Head of Education, Communications and Outreach for a five-year period, from 1 April 2016 until 31 December 2020.




Reporting to the Director for International Relations, the successful candidate will head the Education, Communications and Outreach Group and play a leading role in conceptualizing, designing and executing the Organization's strategy in the field of internal and external communications, education and outreach. Target audiences will include decision makers, the media, the worldwide particle physics community, school students and teachers, CERN personnel, visitors, the local community and the general public.


The tasks will include:


  • Advising and assisting the CERN Directorate in strategic communications, education and outreach matters.
  • Serving as chief public relations officer.
  • Fostering interest and support for the Organization and its mission through strategic planning and achievement, in particular in collaboration with Member States, of initiatives aimed at increasing the Organization's interaction with the public and enhancing knowledge of the value and impact of fundamental science and in particular CERN's activities.
  • Setting strategic objectives and work plans, and supervising their implementation, for:
    • Communications activities and campaigns to address a broad spectrum of audiences and identify the appropriate messages and channels for each, including social media and online platforms.
    • Educational and outreach activities (e.g., guided visits to CERN, on-site and travelling exhibitions, training programmes for school teachers and students, etc.).
  • Fostering coherent and inclusive collaboration in communications, education and outreach matters with CERN Member States, Associate Member States and Non-Member States, as well as with other international organizations, institutions and laboratories.
  • Creating and maintaining a network of high-level communications contacts with media outlets, governmental agencies, international organizations and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Facilitating effective coordination with all areas of the Organization for coherent, consistent and inclusive communications and education activities and messages.
  • Overseeing the compilation and preparation, from research to publication, of a variety of communications outputs, targeting different stakeholder groups.
  • Supervising the planning and organization of large-scale education and outreach events. Contributing to the development and dissemination of institutional public relations policies and practices.
  • Ensuring ongoing evaluation of impact of communications and education activities.


Qualification required

Master's degree in the field of Public Information, Communications or Science Journalism (or equivalent).

A Master's degree in a scientific or engineering subject would be a distinct asset.


Experience and competencies

The professional experience required for this post includes:

  • Significant experience in a senior management position in the fields of communications, scientific education and outreach, preferably in an international environment.

  • Ability to coordinate and supervise a team of expert science communicators.

  • Extensive experience in strategic planning for education, communications and outreach activities, and in supervising implementation of communications and education plans.

  • Ability to assess world-wide communications environments and maintain a broad, global network of high-level contacts.


The technical competencies required for this post include:

  • Strategic communication             
  • Internal corporate communication
  • People management
  • Relations with the media
  • Deep knowledge of the international media landscape and its channels (online and offline)
  • Science writing, scientific popularization
  • Emerging technology monitoring


The behavioural competencies required for this post include:

  • Communicating effectively: selecting the appropriate medium and forum to communicate; delivering presentations in a structured and clear way; adjusting style and content to the audience; responds calmly and confidently to questions.
  • Creating vision and Strategic partnerships: valuing the general public's understanding of CERN goals and taking every opportunity to explain its mission.
  • Leading with strength and credibility: conveying and instilling energy, enthusiasm and ownership of CERN goals; acting as role model and leading by example, using power and/or position in the interest of all.
  • Bringing the best out of people: being approachable and available to team members; promoting team interests.


The language competencies required for this post are:

  • Excellent level of spoken and written English, very good level of spoken and written French; the ability to understand and speak other Member State languages would be an asset.


Eligibility conditions

Employing a diverse and international workforce is a CERN core value and central to our success. We welcome applications from all Member States irrespective of gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, religion or personal situation.


In order to achieve the desirable balance of both in-house and external experience, priority will be given to candidates having extensive communication, scientific education and outreach experience from outside CERN.

Applications will be treated in strict confidence.

For further information about CERN in general, please consult CERN's home page.


Note on Employment Conditions

For this post, CERN offers a limited-duration contract of five years. Limited-duration contracts shall terminate by default on their date of expiry.  Subject to certain conditions, holders of limited-duration contracts may apply for an indefinite position.


Professional Category:
Office and Administrative Work
Job Category:
Support & Administration
Career Level

Application is closed for this job.