UC San Diego

Closing Date: January 1, 2023

Executive Director of Research Communications

The University Communications Public Relations team drives strategic outreach and engagement in support of internal and external communications for UC San Diego, while also contributing to content development in collaboration with University Communications Strategy colleagues.

University Communications PR professionals are expert storytellers who utilize best-in-class internal and external communications channels to deliver the unique stories of each of the University’s schools, seven colleges and medical center. The PR function drives earned media efforts by cultivating and leveraging relationships with key regional, vertical and global media to elevate the university’s profile of prestige, distinction and global leadership in research, medicine, science, engineering, technology, policy, management, the arts and more. The PR team also leads communications for the university’s distinguished research centers and institutes, including the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Qualcomm Institute and leading collaborations in robotics, energy, materials discovery and design and other emerging areas.

Additionally, the University Communications PR team serves as a critical resource for communications strategy and support for staff and faculty engagement communications initiatives in support of the university’s advancement, student affairs, human resources and library functions by integrating and aligning with strategic university priorities and initiatives. Crisis communications are managed through this team.

We are currently recruiting for a new Executive Director of Research Communications. This is a new position that reports to the Sr. Executive Director of Public Relations (SEDPR) and is responsible for developing, implementing, and directing the strategy and oversight of a comprehensive research communications program to articulate research programs and successes with internal and external audiences; manages university-wide communications initiatives.

This position is responsible for the development, execution and measurement of a communication strategic plan to support the research enterprise and its initiatives. The Executive Director of Research Communications will look for creative ways to highlight the research enterprise through public relations activities, marketing efforts, and content campaigns. Will have the primary responsibility for capturing and articulating the university-wide research-related stories that capture and bring alive this remarkable institution, coordinating the channels through which those stories are told, and ensuring execution at the highest level. Manages research and economic development communications activities in alignment with UC San Diego’s research priorities. Responsible for developing a strategy for communicating about UC San Diego’s research and economic development activities in a comprehensive way, and ensuring that communications activities are carried out consistent with the strategy.

Advises the SEDPR and University Communications leadership team on the execution to increase the visibility, outreach and reputation of UC San Diego’s research enterprise locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Researches best practices in higher education research communications. Collaborates with communications colleagues to develop, implement and share news, content, collateral and campaigns that highlight the research enterprise both internally and externally with key stakeholders and target audiences. Serves as a member of the Public Relations leadership team providing counsel and input in the execution of UC San Diego’s strategic communications plan related to research communications. Advises and partners with the SEDPR in all areas related to research communications for the university. Leads and manages the day-to-day operations of the Research Communications team that provides the full range of research communications counsel to the university. Determines objectives, directs the program, and oversees direction, integration and coordination of all activities needed to support research communications throughout the campus. Develops and implements internal and external communication tools, channels, policies, processes and procedures for the University. Responsible for managing, preparing, administering, delegating and directing resources. Reviews and approves recommendations for departmental programs. Develops, modifies, and executes policies that affect immediate operations.

This position serves as a strong facilitator and liaison to advance the mission and goals of the organization. Promotes a culture of equity, inclusion, respect, and superior customer service to internal and external constituents. Actively, deliberately and thoughtfully infuses inclusivity and diversity throughout university communications.

Occasional evenings and weekends may be required. Salary Range: Commensurate with experience.

  • Please submit a cover letter for a complete application.


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related area with five years of relevant experience, or equivalent experience/training.
  • Excellent knowledge and understanding of all aspects of communications, including strategic planning for various media venues, technical aspects and requirements of various venues, and the most appropriate and effective applications.
  • Experience managing a large, complex communications program, with excellent skills to develop, execute and measure a communication strategic plan. Experience highlighting the research enterprise through public relations activities, marketing efforts, and content campaigns preferred.
  • Excellent skills to advise and consult management on all aspects of communications, ranging from developing effective communication strategies to appropriately responding to inquiries regarding sensitive or complex issues or information.
  • Excellence skills in building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholder organizations and identifying opportunities for collaboration and mutually beneficial public relations activities.
  • Extensive writing experience with the skillset to write in a variety formats including science writing, features, news releases, talking points and other materials as needed. The ability to synthesize complex information in easily digestible content for a lay audiences.
  • Excellent interpersonal and verbal skills with demonstrated ability to build strong personal relationships. Ability to interact with tact, diplomacy and discretion with individuals from a diverse array of backgrounds and organizational levels, treating all with dignity, equity, inclusion and respect.
  • Experience managing and leading teams, motivating and evaluating professional communications staff to produce high quality work.
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking, project management and problem recognition, avoidance and resolution skills.
  • Demonstrated competency and commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion.


  • Job offer is contingent upon satisfactory clearance based on Background Check results.

Our employees enjoy competitive compensation packages and educational opportunities in a diverse, stimulating workforce.

This position is eligible for full benefits first day of hire:

  1. a) Health/Dental/Vision Insurance.
  2. b) Vacation/holidays (18 vacation days & 14 paid holidays a year).
  3. c) Work/Life Balance.
  4. d) UC Retirement Plan
  5. e) Pet insurance.

For more information about UCSD Benefits visit – https://blink.ucsd.edu/HR/benefits/ and Work/Life visit – https://blink.ucsd.edu/HR/benefits/work-life/.

Job offer is contingent on successful engagement in the UC COVID-19 Vaccination program (fully vaccinated with documented proof or approved exception/deferral).

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To foster the best possible working and learning environment, UC San Diego strives to cultivate a rich and diverse environment, inclusive and supportive of all students, faculty, staff and visitors. For more information, please visit UC San Diego Principles of Community – https://ucsd.edu/about/principles.html.

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, gender identity or sexual orientation. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: http://www-hr.ucsd.edu/saa/nondiscr.html

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