Deputy Director of Communications

In the Crick's Communications & Public Engagement Team.

Part of Crick Operations.

Deadline for applications has passed.

Key information

Job reference
From £77,668 to £88,023 subject to skills and experience
Applications closed
17 March 2023, 23:59 GMT
Hours per week
36 (full time)
Posted 24 February 2023

Deputy Director of Communications

Reports to:

  • Director of Communications and Public Engagement.

Contact term:

  • This is a full-time, permanent position on Crick terms and conditions of employment.


The Francis Crick Institute is a partnership between the Medical Research Council (MRC), Cancer Research UK (CRUK), the Wellcome Trust, University College London (UCL), Imperial College London and King’s College London.  It is a registered charity whose purpose is to conduct biomedical research into all aspects of human health and disease. 

The institute is a leading centre of biomedical research and innovation. It promotes connections between researchers and disciplines and between academic institutions, healthcare organisations and businesses.  Dedicated to research excellence, the institute has the scale, vision and expertise to tackle the most challenging scientific questions underpinning health and disease.  It has a strong national role — training scientists and developing ideas for public good.

The communications and public engagement team includes around 30 staff working across a wide range of projects and activities encompassing education outreach in the local community, exhibitions, public engagement in science, media and public affairs, and digital and internal communications. This is a busy and responsive team that supports the operational effectiveness of the Institute as well as delivering its promise to “engage and inspire” the public in scientific research and its outputs.

Led by the Director of Communications and Public Engagement, this team seeks to develop the profile and reputation of the Crick as an Institute that is grounded in its local community while producing science that matters to the world. It is a creative team that is dedicated to science story-telling and connects with a wide and complex array of external partners in the university, commercial, philanthropic, media, educational, public engagement and museum sectors.

Role summary

The Deputy Director of Communications will lead the Crick’s strategy for corporate communications, encompassing media relations, internal communications and events. They also take a wider role across the team acting as a senior leader for professional development, deputising for the Director of Communications and Public Engagement, and driving the organisation’s over-arching content strategy.

This role will lead professionally on compelling and creative story telling. This will involve working with external partners in mainstream media, as well as production companies, to develop highly innovative, bespoke content that supports the Institute’s strategy. There will be a close relationship with the digital and creative service of the communications and public engagement team to ensure that content is shared on digital channels for maximum effect and to strengthen the Crick’s brand.

The Deputy Director of Communications will develop a deep understanding of the Crick’s strategy and be able to find ways to express and explain it through multiple channels. They will instinctively identify the stories that will engage, delight and fascinate the Crick’s widely varied audiences - from government to the local community, the international scientific community and our staff. Telling those stories is critical to the Crick’s position as a trusted and respected Institute that cares deeply about sharing its work with the public and the communities it serves.

Key responsibilities

These include but are not limited to:

  • Develop and lead a successful communications strategy for the Crick working across communications and public engagement to co-ordinate priorities and ensure delivery of the annual workplan.
  • Develop a highly innovative and creative approach to telling the Crick’s story deploying journalistic skills to deliver effective and inspiring content across multiple channels.
  • Develop and lead a content strategy for the communications and public engagement team that identifies and schedules relevant stories for production in line with the over-arching communications strategy.
  • Develop relationships with production companies, agencies, creative studios and freelance science writers to partner with external suppliers as and when appropriate to generate strategically relevant content.
  • Oversee the Crick’s media team and support it in developing highly effective working relationships with journalists working at national and international outlets in both features and news production, exploring novel opportunities for partnering in the creation of science story-telling content.
  • Work closely with the Director and Deputy CEO of the Crick alongside other senior directors to create opportunities for effective and inspiring communications to the Crick’s key audiences.
  • Develop highly effective working relationships with the Crick’s scientific staff becoming a trusted colleague in understanding and supporting their communications needs.
  • Oversee the development and delivery of a highly effective internal communications strategy that inspires, informs and engages staff at the Crick.
  • Oversee the events team and the delivery of the Crick’s dynamic and varied programme of meetings, symposia and public events ensuring that opportunities for publicity and promotion are exploited appropriately.
  • Develop a strategy that supports the Crick’s priority to attract and support early career scientists from around the world, showcasing the opportunities available at the Institute as well as its culture and commitment to its values.
  • Work effectively with the head of external relations to support visits to the Crick by high-profile individuals and organisations ensuring that media and digital activity is aligned to communicate the benefits of the occasion.
  • Collaborate effectively with the senior leadership of the Crick’s philanthropic strategy as well as the digital and creative team to identify and tell stories that share the benefits of supporting the Crick in its mission.
  • Develop creative new ways to explain the Crick’s scientific output to a diverse audience ranging from scientific colleagues to those with little exposure to scientific concepts using animation, illustration, videography and a wide range of best-fit approaches.
  • Deputise for the director of communications and public engagement
  • Lead on the improvement programme for communications and public engagement, identifying opportunities and priorities for enhancing the co-ordination, effectiveness and productivity of the team.
  • Lead on professional development for the communications and public engagement team.

Key experience and competencies

The post holder should embody and demonstrate our core Crick values:

Bold; Open; Collegial in addition to the following:


  • Experience of developing and delivering communications strategies in complex, high-profile organisations.
  • A background in journalism, public relations or communications with a proven ability to set exceptionally high creative standards in story-telling and content production.
  • Highly experienced in working in or with the media in either a science or non-science and either a news or features sector.
  • Outstanding inter-personal skills and the ability to network effectively and influence decision-takers and senior stakeholders inside and outside an organisation.
  • Highly strategic analyst with a proven ability to generate deep insights into specific audiences and their motivations, relating these to certain styles and forms of content creation.
  • Solid understanding of digital communications channels and digital production methods.
  • An authentic and deep appreciation of discovery science and its benefits for society.
  • Ability to research, measure and evaluate the impact of communications strategies and share this information effectively with senior stakeholders as well as using it to amend and adjust strategies.
  • Experience of leading communications teams in a scientific or research-focussed organisation
  • Ability to work independently and also capable of interacting within a group


  • Experience of leading communications in a scientific institute.
  • Understanding of clinical academia and the role of patients in clinical research.
  • Experience of delivery two-way dialogues and engagement approaches with an organisation’s staff.