10 October 2017

Science Writer and Editor

Vacancy 27/2017 - The science writer and editor will provide professional editing and scientific writing support and be able to turn technical and scientific information into compelling narratives.

Job Summary:

The External Relations, Communications, and Library  (ERCL) department at IIASA is hiring a science writer and editor. The successful applicant will be able to turn technical and scientific information into compelling narratives, for instance, feature or blog articles for scientists, policymakers, stakeholders, and the general public. They will also help scientists whose first language may not be English to produce clear and readable research papers for publication in scientific journals.

The science writer and editor must be an efficient, elegant writer with proven experience in science writing. In addition they should be passionate, even a stickler, about style and spelling and motivated to ensure consistency across all of IIASA publications.

Main Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • Edit and proofread scholarly/technical manuscripts (journal articles, books, research reports)
  • Develop, write, edit, and proofread a variety of copy about IIASA research with a high degree of scientific accuracy that is clear and comprehensible to readers outside IIASA. Be able to differentiate the style you would use for writing webpages, the Annual Report, IIASA’s Options magazine, the IIASA blog, brochures, policy briefs, and press releases
  • Serve as an interface between scientists and non-specialist audiences in turning highly technical jargon-laden papers into articles suitable for a wider range of audiences, from the general public to researchers in other disciplines
  • Interview and discuss research with IIASA scientists and external collaborators in order to identify the best communication channels, shape messages for target audiences, and write appropriate content, fact-checked with researchers
  • Keep the IIASA house/style guide updated and provide expert advice on editing, language, and style. Ensure quality control, and uniform technical and non-technical messaging in written output across the multiple scientific disciplines of the institute
  • Work with other Communications staff to maintain and develop the quality of IIASA publications and to promote them to readers
  • Cultivate good working relationships with IIASA scientists and support their research dissemination efforts by offering professional communication advice and support in communicating their work
  • Deputize for other Communications staff during absences and perform other tasks as necessary. 

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in journalism, English, or a scientific field
  • Native English speaker
  • Excellent science writing skills and proven ability to present complex scientific information to a non-specialist audience
  • Adaptable writing style to communicate with different audiences, both scientific and non-specialist
  • Advanced editing and proofreading skills, and excellent attention to detail
  • Clear written and oral communication skills
  • Good people and project management skills
  • Minimum three years of professional writing and editing experience in a science-related field, including editing and writing feature articles, blogs and more technical documents
  • Proven excellent computer skills, with proficiency at MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Ability to be flexible and adaptable, even under pressure
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently and as a member of a team and to maintain professional and productive relationships with scientists and staff from diverse nationalities.  

Appointment Terms:

The successful candidate will be expected to take up the position by December 2017 (or as soon as possible thereafter) and will initially be offered a fixed-term contract for one year, with the possibility of extension thereafter.

IIASA offers a competitive compensation and benefits package (moving and settlement allowances, educational grants for children of school age, and five weeks’ annual vacation). The salary offered will be in the region of EUR 40,000 per annum depending upon the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. IIASA salaries are exempt from taxation in the host country of Austria but subject to the principle of income aggregation.

IIASA is committed to a working environment that promotes equality, diversity, tolerance and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified candidates from all religious, ethnic and social backgrounds to apply. In the case that candidates are equally qualified, preference will be given to applicants who are nationals of IIASA member countries.


To apply, please send a cover letter and CV (Word or PDF) plus names and contact details of two work-related references via email. To complete your application, please also provide a written example of your work, specifically a feature article covering a scientific matter, written for the general public, no longer than 600 words (longer texts will not be considered) to: 

Ms. Alia Harrison, Human Resources Department 
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria 

Deadline for receipt of applications: 31 October 2017

For information about this position and IIASA's Communications Department, please contact:

About Laxenburg (near Vienna)

IIASA is located in a former 18th century imperial palace of the Habsburg Monarchy in Laxenburg, Austria about 15 km from Vienna. The facility has been gratefully provided by the host country Austria to the International Scientific Community. According to Mercer’s 19th annual Quality of Living survey, Vienna occupies first place for overall quality of living for the eighth year running in 2017. The survey covers 231 cities worldwide and is based on 39 criteria such as political and social, economic, educational, and environmental factors. Vienna has all the facilities of a modern, progressive city, in the heart of Europe. 

While famous for its concert venues, opera houses, theaters, and museums, Vienna also provides opportunities for great outdoor activities on nearby Lake Neusiedl, the Vienna Woods, and the Alps.

Vienna has a wealth of different research and international governmental institutions, permitting extensive dialogue at local and international level between scientists and policymakers.

For general information about our Institute and its research activities, please visit our IIASA web site.

Internal reference# 170330

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Last edited: 11 October 2017


Alia Harrison

Recruitment Coordinator

Human Resources

T +43(0) 2236 807 286

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313