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Communications Coordinator - National Security Sciences Directorate

Requisition Id 4581 

The Communications Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) seeks an experienced communications professional to support the National Security Sciences Directorate (NSSD) by developing strategies, plans, and products that communicate NSSD research, technical advances, and scientific leadership to stakeholders including scientific peers, sponsors, staff, and the public.


Major Duties/Responsibilities

The primary purpose of this position is to lead the team responsible for developing and implementing a strategic communications approach that conveys the value of NSSD’s research and facilities to diverse audiences, both technical and nontechnical, and to actively facilitate execution of NSSD’s communications plan. The coordinator will work closely with the directorate Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Leadership Team to understand NSSD communications needs and delivery preferences, prioritize efforts, and develop products that tell the compelling story of national security science research at ORNL. The coordinator will also advise NSSD senior leadership on communications best practices and organizational standards and will coordinate writing, editing, graphic design, photography, video production, and web and intranet services for the directorate.


With input from directorate leadership, the communications coordinator will


  • Identify the most important audiences for NSSD, the research most relevant to those audiences, and the best strategies and tactics for building support—including key messages, effective messengers, and best-suited communications products and platforms.


  • Mentor and lead the NSSD communications team, including science writers and graphic designers, by assigning tasks, managing workflow, and monitoring progress.


  • Provide training to directorate staff in communications areas that need to be developed at scale (such as presentation skills and technical communications best practices).


  • Use state-of-the-art approaches and tools to build a strong presence and reputation for NSSD with government, academic, and research communities as well as the public.


  • Develop and implement internal and external strategic communications plans to promote ORNL’s expertise in national security sciences.


  • Work directly with NSSD leadership to prepare highly professional presentations and talking points for a variety of audiences, including leadership within federal agencies and key stakeholders such as industry leaders and Congress.


  • Coach the NSSD team on effective communications; manage strategies, in conjunction with ORNL’s Communications Division, to enhance internal and external awareness of national security sciences research, including coordination with lab-wide priorities and partners.


  • Prepare NSSD personnel for media interviews and establish effective professional relationships with relevant media.


  • Oversee NSSD’s web presence, including website content development, support, and continuous upgrades; search-engine optimization; and monitoring.


  • Work with NSSD COO and Communications Division staff to plan, coordinate, and execute original communications products to highlight NSSD’s work. Products will reach internal and external audiences, both technical and nontechnical, and may include fact sheets and brochures, correspondence, reports for public distribution, articles and feature stories, presentations, advertisements, talking points, newsletters, news releases, videos, and online content.


  • Strengthen internal and external branding through consistent messaging across platforms and by applying ORNL styles/standards to internal and external communications products. Benchmark other national laboratories and organizations for best practices and new ideas.


  • Prepare, edit, maintain, and archive project documents, reports, and other written material. Edit materials for content, consistency, clarity, grammar, and syntax to ensure compliance with customer requirements and ORNL, sponsor, or publisher guidelines.


  • Build and maintain a work environment that promotes collaboration, performance, feedback, recognition, mutual respect, and employee engagement. Identify staffing needs; work with NSSD and the Communications Division to recruit, select, and retain highly qualified and diverse staff. Establish and ensure an open and encouraging working environment where staff report issues and concerns. Ensure the staff is properly trained to meet present and future needs by building new competencies and supporting long-term staff development.


  • Abide by the principles of Safe Conduct of Research, including being personally responsible for ensuring safe operations by raising safety concerns, exhibiting a questioning attitude, considering hazards for every task, and never ceasing to learn.


Qualifications Required

Minimum of a bachelor’s degree and 8 years of progressive experience in communications-related positions. Candidate must be self-motivated and self-directed while integrating direction and preferences from the leadership team into the execution of all tasks. Excellent written and oral communications skills as well as excellent interpersonal skills are required. Experience working with senior leaders or executives and the confidence to fulfill urgent requests in a timely and professional manner are essential. Must possess the ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines, and lead a team in a deadline-driven environment. Also must have the ability to work both independently and with all levels of staff in a team-based environment. Must possess strong problem-solving skills and the ability to develop and implement solutions.


Clearance Level and/or U.S. Citizenship Required: This position requires a "Q" Security Clearance, or the ability to obtain and maintain a "Q" clearance, and a Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) Access/Security Clearance.


Qualifications Preferred

Demonstrated experience working in a research or scientific project environment and ability to translate complex technical concepts into language easily comprehensible to nonspecialists. Previous experience working at high levels within federal agencies in national security space is preferred. Previous experience in science writing is beneficial.


Work Directions and Interfaces

This position will report to the Director of the ORNL Communications Division; it will be matrixed to the Associate Laboratory Director (ALD) and COO for NSSD and engage daily with NSSD leadership and researchers. The NSSD ALD and COO will have direct input regarding incumbent’s job performance as well as task assignments and priorities. 


This position will remain open for a minimum of 5 days after which it will close when a qualified candidate is identified and/or hired.

We accept Word (.doc, .docx), Adobe (unsecured .pdf), Rich Text Format (.rtf), and HTML (.htm, .html) up to 5MB in size. Resumes from third party vendors will not be accepted; these resumes will be deleted and the candidates submitted will not be considered for employment.

If you have trouble applying for a position, please email

ORNL is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants, including individuals with disabilities and protected veterans, are encouraged to apply.  UT-Battelle is an E-Verify employer.

Salary Range
$33,000.00 - 57,000.00
per Year
Salary range estimated by
Oak Ridge, TN 37830, US