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Communications Officer, Publications & e-Communications

Department: Institute for quantum Computing Effective Date: July, 2011
Grade: USG 9 Reports to: Associate Director, Communications & Outreach, IQC

General Accountability

Reporting to the Associate Director of Communication & Outreach, the Communications Officer will work with other members of IQC’s Communication & Outreach team to develop, administer and implement IQC’s strategic communications plan and supporting activities. The incumbent will help meet IQC’s strategic objectives, primarily through the development and production of print and e-communications and managing the IQC brand expression – key message development, visual identity, and consistent application across multiple vehicles, with all users (faculty, staff, students, external).

Specifically, the incumbent will be accountable for the development and execution of diverse, multi-stakeholder publications (print and online), special communication projects and e-communication strategies in support of IQC’s strategic mandate to develop world-leading quantum science breakthroughs, attract the best faculty and students in the world, and become the authoritative source of quantum information world-wide.

The incumbent will serve as overall IQC brand manager, helping both in the ongoing development of the key messages as well as in the visual identity, and ensure the brand is consistently used through all the different ways IQC presents itself to its target audiences, within the University, and with external partners.

The incumbent will serve as senior publisher, project manager and managing editor of all IQC communications & outreach-focused publications, current and to be developed, including the Annual Report, IQC’s central communication and outreach tool; the IQC semesterly newsletter (occasional special issues also published), grad student recruitment brochures, fact sheets, posters, and all new vehicles currently in early development stages, both print and online.

The incumbent must be able to creatively conceive the publications and target them to audiences appropriately, set and manage the production schedule, integrate the messages, ensure message and brand consistency and effectiveness across all vehicles, project manage the overlapping deadlines, do some writing as required and manage the editing overall. While many publications and projects are known, there will frequently be emerging ‘special projects’ requiring the development of targeted print and online communication pieces. The incumbent will play an important role in these as required. (e.g. developing the IQC brand, new graphic identity, and 10th anniversary projects)

The incumbent also serves as the overall web content and social media strategist, helping develop, manage navigation and user experience and post current content as well as conceive the next phase of development for best positioning IQC science through the website and social media channels. For the next 9-12 months, the incumbent will serve as a consultant and supervisory advisor to a seconded Web and e-communications officer, (if approved) hired to focus exclusively on the new website, address a backlog of implementation action items, start the new content strategy, and start to populate the site with new content. When that work is complete, the Communication Officer will resume broad accountability as content web master.

The incumbent will also serve as the primary developer and manager of internal communications at IQC, working with the Events, Outreach & Communications Co-ordinator to establish appropriate, audience-specific communication strategies, tools, events, and messages to inform and engage all IQC members re: the news, directions, and important milestones of the Institute.

The incumbent will also help develop, administer and manage IQC’s photo collection and Flickr account.

The incumbent will work with other members of IQC’s Communications & Outreach team and with all units within IQC, as required, external vendors such as printers, designers, photographers and others, and with key leaders and faculty within IQC to create effective, timely communication vehicles across all channels.

Four other communications and outreach positions report to the Associate Director, as well as a contract event support person and video contractors.

Nature and Scope

The incumbent must be a PR and communications professional with experience in producing diverse publications and other communication ‘products’ with simultaneous or overlapping deadlines, must understand audience-targeted communications and know how to engage audiences in measuring effectiveness of vehicles, and be able to work with competing deadlines, in a fast-paced environment.  Must have experience in a project manager position with proven ability in managing deadline-driven, multiple-source projects that require attention to accuracy, consistency, and relevance and the ability to work with many different people with competing priorities.

The incumbent must have considerable grasp of current communication best practices as they are continuing to evolve, a creative mind that can shape innovative ways to convey the messages, and the ability to evaluate the communication activities and materials from an ‘outside-in’ perspective. The incumbent must also have superior organizational skills, with the knowledge and ability to do large-scale communication project planning, managing multiple inputs, and resources outside of the Communications & Outreach team.

The incumbent will work on a large range of assigned projects and will also be called on to identify new opportunities for effectively reaching IQC’s many target audiences through new communication vehicles and channels. The incumbent must be able to work effectively with many groups and individuals who will be content experts and providers, including senior staff and faculty, ensuring the products produced are accurate, relevant, and reflect the scientific agenda of IQC appropriately. The incumbent will manage IQC’s web content committee (after the secondment role is finished).

IQC has a significant international mandate to inform, raise awareness, and educate many audiences about quantum matters; attract the best students and faculty, and demonstrate to partners and donors the progress being made and the impact of the scientific breakthroughs. The face IQC presents to the world is vitally important and requires communication support that accurately reflects the science, is understandable to many audiences, and engages people to want to know more and participate in the leading-edge work done here. The incumbent plays a key role in ensuring the IQC story and identity is effectively portrayed  through all vehicles and channels and targets its many publics, including: general public, university and government partners, current and potential students and faculty, IQC members, and beyond.

The website and publications are primary tools for international audiences looking to access IQC, and are critical components required to meet IQC’s strategic objectives. The credibility and reputation risks are high, given the international mandate and significant private and government funding, if these communication channels are not world class, effectively maintained, and go beyond basic informational tools.

Statistical Data

IQC comprises 8 scientific areas of focus, with 18 faculty, 4 research assistant professors, 34 postdoctoral fellows, and 75 graduate students. Faculty and student numbers are slated to significantly increase in the next several years.

IQC faculty are engaged in leading-edge research, with a range of collaborators and partners, with over 100 active grants and contracts. Research funds awarded during the past fiscal year amounted to over $25 million. IQC has also received $50 million from Industry Canada and nearly $70 million from different granting agencies within the Government of Ontario, adding to the significant original investment of over $100 million from Mike Lazaridis. There are communication and outreach requirements associated with receiving this level of external funding; an outstanding communications program – including print and the web - is a key way to meet those requirements.

IQC will be moving into the Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre within the next half year, another venture that must be showcased appropriately through print, web and other communication strategies.

Specific Accountabilities

Annual Report:

Newsletter, other publications and print pieces:

Web Content Master:

Brand Management:

Special Projects:

Significant Internal and External Relationships

Working Conditions

Much of the time is spent sitting in a comfortable position with frequent opportunity to move about. Located in a comfortable indoor area. There is a frequent need to give close attention to various stimuli such as written material and information given verbally to co-workers. The work is varied.  There are deadline pressures, while at the same time there is a demand for thoroughness and accuracy.