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Press and Communications Officer

Annual recruitment round

Contract: full-time; two-year contract in the first instance.

Start date: as soon as possible

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is the UK’s leading independent microeconomic research institute and a registered charity. Our goal at the IFS is to promote effective economic and social policies by better understanding how policies affect individuals, families, businesses and the government's finances. Our research not only has an impact on policy makers, think tanks and practitioners, it has also gained a worldwide reputation for academic rigour. We communicate our research widely, providing independent advice to policy makers; collaborating with world renowned academics on new economic theories and techniques; and disseminating our findings through the press, social media and the web.

The role

With exciting projects underway and growing demand for our commentary and analysis, we are seeking a strong candidate with experience in a press and communications role or a background in journalism to help promote our research.

As part of a small but effective communications team, you will play a key role in managing the Institute’s relations with the media (print, broadcast and online – mainly UK). You will usually be the first port of call for media requests and will work with the Head of Public Relations to build upon the strong profile that IFS already has by developing relationships and growing our existing network of contacts. You will work closely with colleagues to plan the dissemination of research and will be responsible for monitoring the news cycle, identifying media opportunities. As well as identifying positive opportunities for promotion, you will also be able to judge when we are not best placed to provide commentary and will advise colleagues on how to manage requests.  

You will have the ability to communicate clearly, confidently and creatively, using a wide range of media channels to target the right audiences. As well as issuing press releases, you will manage IFS social media accounts and will work with researchers and colleagues in the communications team to create clear and engaging content. You will have sound judgement, and will be able to communicate appropriately with a wide range of stakeholders with the aim of promoting and protecting the Institute’s reputation.  

This is an important public-facing role within the Institute, newly created to support our growing and positive impact on key public policy debates. The successful candidate will possess a genuine enthusiasm for promoting good quality evidence-based research.

Responsibilities will include

  • Managing day-to-day email and telephone press queries, arranging interviews and responding appropriately to journalists
  • Maintaining and developing strong relationships with local, national, international and specialist media
  • Managing a database of contacts for use by other team members
  • Monitoring the national news agenda closely and proactively to spot opportunities for the Institute to maximise media coverage and inform debate as it happens
  • Issuing IFS press releases, following up with media outlets, and to offering guidance on the best release dates
  • Contributing to forward planning, using a media diary to identify opportunities to promote research beyond its initial launch
  • Regular gathering and reporting of press and social media statistics
  • Day-to-day management of social media accounts
  • Creating clear and compelling content for a variety of audiences, and delivering it across a range of channels
  • Identifying platforms to promote our research, including opportunities for blogs, cross-posting and comment pieces
  • Sending out newsletters and bulletins to wide range of stakeholders and keeping distribution lists up to date for these
  • Participating in an on-call (out of hours) rota
  • Supporting the Head of Public Relations on media strategy
  • Running internal media training sessions for staff
  • Supporting the rest of the communications team as needed.

Person specification


  • A good degree (2:1+) or equivalent (or higher) qualification
  • Experience of working in a busy press office or newsroom, with good knowledge of print, broadcast and online media
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas and information (including statistical) carefully to non-specialist and lay audiences
  • Experience of forming and implementing media plans and campaigns
  • Political sensitivity and judgement and a keen interest in public policy
  • Excellent writing skills
  • Good IT skills and a high level of accuracy
  • A demonstrable understanding of social media campaigns and how to use these to achieve communications objectives
  • Ability to work under pressure and to deadlines
  • Outstanding communications skills and confidence
  • Good interpersonal skills, with the ability to engage and interact with people at all levels
  • Able to work some evenings / weekends

Highly Desirable

  • Training and coaching others in making effective use of the media
  • Knowledge of economics or a related discipline
  • Experience in an academic or policy environment

How to apply

Please send your CV and a covering letter, explaining what makes you a good candidate for the job and making reference to the job description and person specification, to The subject title of the email should be Press and Comms Officer. The deadline for applications is midnight on 1 March 2018.