Sr. Science Communications Specialist (FT, Washington State)

Job Title
Senior Science Communications Specialist

Full Time, Washington State

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is searching for a Senior Science Communications Specialist to join our Media Relations Team. This role offers the unique opportunity of combining science writing expertise with media relations–all centered around fundamental research. This position was created to increase the visibility of the Laboratory’s basic and fundamental science research with clients and potential clients via the national, regional, local and trade news media. Working with the news media is a Communications function critical to the Laboratory’s strategy. It advances the scientific reputation of PNNL; it helps drive business growth through the attraction of new clients and collaborators; and it builds goodwill and advocacy with key individuals and organizations. The Science Communications Specialist reports to the Communications & Outreach Manager. Specialists are expected to maintain strong and positive relationships with researchers, media relations team members, leadership within research and support organizations, directorate Communications Managers, the Department of Energy and other funding agencies and entities, and of course, the news media.

Duties Include:

  • Preparing and distributing news releases, pitches and other media materials surrounding the Laboratory’s basic and fundamental sciences research;
  • Developing and implementing special projects that reach media and audiences in non-traditional but effective ways;
  • Establishing and maintaining relationships with appropriate national, regional, local and trade news media representatives and assigned Laboratory divisions;
  • Providing message development and media relations counsel to Laboratory staff and management.
  • Identifying media opportunities that connect the Lab to national and international issues, public concerns or trends;
  • Managing news conferences and media availabilities, and conducting onsite media tours;
  • Identifying and using advanced electronic technology to distribute news and information, respond to media requests, track media placements and match Lab experts with reporters working on stories;
  • Conducting offsite visits to media offices and/or scientific meetings to build or maintain relationships, discuss news story ideas, and offer Laboratory staff as expert resources for future stories;
  • Responding to information requests from the news media, businesses, other government and quasi-government agencies, civic groups, educational organizations and general public;
  • Collaborating across the Communications organization to maximize impact of science communications efforts;
  • Developing, leading and implementing strategic approaches to science communications that target science media and other key audiences to support Laboratory goals; and
  • Collaborating with industry and government agencies on joint announcements that leverage the media outreach muscle of these other organizations.


  • Bachelor’s degree in biology, chemistry, communications, public relations, English, journalism or related field and at least 7 years experience as a reporter, media relations or communications professional, or an advanced degree plus 4 years of experience.
  • Successful track record of story placement in the science media as well as contacts in the science media.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and be able to turn scientific jargon into language and concepts understood by a mass audience.
  • They must possess strong news judgment, be media savvy, have excellent relationship management and organizational skills, and be flexible, able to prioritize, work under pressure and meet deadlines.
  • Track record of teaming across a Communications organization. Experience serving as a team lead or mentoring junior staff is preferred.

About Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), is one of nine U.S. Department of Energy multiprogram national laboratories with approximately 4,200+ employees and a 2006 business volume of $750+ million, headquartered in Richland, WA. At PNNL, we deliver breakthrough science and technology to meet key national needs. We also apply our capabilities to meet selected environmental, energy, health and national security objectives, strengthen the economy, and support the education of future scientists and engineers. PNNL is managed by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, but we perform work for many DOE offices as well as other government agencies. Battelle has operated PNNL for DOE and its predecessors since 1965. A unique feature of Battelle’s contract with DOE allows our staff to work for private industry. In fiscal year 2005, PNNL received 53 U.S. and 83 foreign patents. Since 1965, PNNL has received a total of 1,383 U.S. and foreign patents.

About Tri-Cites, WA
(We will provide relocation support for right candidate)

The Tri-Cities consists of the 3 communities, Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland, and is located 3 hours southeast of Seattle, WA. Embraced by the beauty of a desert landscape and connected by the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers, Tri-Cities offers a multitude of recreational, cultural, and historical activities and is a great place to visit and live. The area is known for its premier golf courses, award-winning wineries, first-class shopping and abundant water recreation. Click on the link above to learn more about the various communities. PNNL is located in Richland, WA.

Tri-Cities Facts:
Tri-Cities Population: 215,000+
Jan. 2007 Average Tri-Cities Home Price: $180,000
Average Precipitation: 8 inches
Sunshine Days Per Year: 200 Days
Public Schools: 19
Hospitals (area): 4
Golf Courses: 10

If interested, contact:

Rob Dromgoole
Executive Search Consultant
Battelle Lab Operations
(509) 375-2441

“Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”
— Colin Powell

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