Director, Research Communications

New York City, New York (US)
Commensurate with experience
March 23 2018
Position Type
Full Time
Organization Type

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) was founded in 2000 with one clear objective: accelerating meaningful therapeutic advances and, ultimately, a cure for Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Foundation applies extraordinary scientific, business and media assets to this singular focus—thus creating a unique and dynamic organization. Since inception, MJFF has quickly grown into the largest global funder of Parkinson’s disease research outside the U. S. federal government, having funded over $750 million in research projects in both academic and industry labs worldwide.

Core to our philosophy is how we think of our capital and its risk profile relative to other stakeholders in the drug development pipeline. We work aggressively to de-risk various therapeutic strategies and tools in the hopes of building a robust pipeline of new treatments for patients.  In order to achieve our mission of finding a cure for PD it is critical that we engage with, and bring together, members of the PD community including researchers, physicians, health professionals and most important, people with Parkinson's and their families. We believe that raising the Foundation’s profile with a broader audience will help us more efficiently reach and mobilize highly engaged stakeholders who are more likely to feel personally vested in helping speed progress toward a cure.

We believe that to find a cure for PD as quickly as possible, our capital needs to push research forward today—we therefore deliberately have no endowment. We instead start our fundraising from zero each year and seek to deploy funds raised as quickly and wisely as possible. MJFF raises over $90 million annually. Today, the Foundation has approximately 130 full-time employees who are based in New York City. This is an onsite position and is not conducive to telecommuting.


Position Description:

The Communications team has an opening for a Director, Research Communications, responsible for strategizing, writing and editing communications plans and content that convey the objectives and promise of MJFF’s scientific programs and research engagement initiatives to speed a cure for Parkinson’s disease.

The successful candidate will bring 8 to 10 years’ relevant strategic communications experience in a research institute or other life sciences setting. A proven ability to think strategically, distill complex messages and craft persuasive, clearly written material is a must. The right candidates will take pride in having the fluidity and versatility to write for multiple audiences and purposes.

Responsibilities include:

  • Lead the development and implementation of strategic communications plans to promote the Foundation’s wide-ranging scientific agenda to B2B and B2C audiences, including communicating our research priorities, progress and scientific results arising from our programmatic investments
  • Lead the development and implementation of strategies and materials to increase patient engagement in Parkinson’s clinical research;
  • Write and edit presentations, blog posts, emails, press releases, collateral, correspondence, website content and other as needed;
  • Partner with the Marketing team on the development of a range of content for audience development, engagement and conversions to various research calls to action
  • Manage a high-performing science writer; assign and manage a range of freelance contributors
  • Contribute to department support including processing of invoices and expense reports, tracking/maintaining media files, managing vendor relationships and contracts, and other as needed.

Finalist candidates will be asked to take a writing test.

Every member of the Communications team at MJFF must demonstrate a track record of hard work, strong attention to detail, excellent project management and the ability to meet competing deadlines and manage multiple projects at once.

Qualification and Experience needed

  • B.A. degree and a minimum of 8 to 10 years’ relevant strategic communications experience in a research institute or other life sciences setting
  • Experience developing and executing communications plans aligned with business objectives (please be prepared to share examples)
  • Excellent written and verbal communications skills
  • Curiosity and inquisitiveness about science and the research enterprise
  • Demonstrated ability to translate complex scientific concepts into compelling news stories and pitches (please be prepared to share writing samples)
  • Ability to connect research findings with the Foundation’s mission and put our work in the context of the larger Parkinson’s landscape
  • Ability to work with colleagues and partners at all levels; diplomatic personality
  • Sense of humor and ability to remain calm and professional under pressure

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is known for its optimistic, problem-solving approach to Parkinson’s drug development, and has an established organizational voice — a tone of excellence (high-quality journalistic inquiry that is authoritative but never arrogant), simplicity (while avoiding oversimplification of technical material), directness (speaking plainly and never sugar-coating) and authenticity (never overpromising, never biased). The Director, Research Communications, will be expected to work to absorb this voice and quickly incorporate it in their writing.

This is an onsite position in our New York City (Midtown West) office and is not conducive to telecommuting. Some travel may be required.

How to Apply


Interested candidates should submit a resume, up to three relevant writing samples, and thoughtful cover letter describing their specific qualifications and interest in the position. Submissions without cover letters will not be considered. Please click on the following link.  Please, no telephone inquiries and do not contact our staff directly. Only applicants who best match the position needs will be contacted. 

The Michael J. Fox Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

Similar jobs

Similar jobs