Senior Press Officer/Writer

Geneva, Switzerland
[Closing date: 9 July 2018]   


Established in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a not-for-profit research and development (R&D) organization that develops new, improved, and affordable medicines for deadly neglected diseases that afflict millions of the world’s poorest people.

DNDi focuses on discovering and developing treatments for sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis), Chagas disease, leishmaniasis, filarial infections, paediatric HIV, mycetoma, and hepatitis C. In 2016, in collaboration with the World Health Organization, DNDi launched the Global Antibiotic Research and Development Partnership, a not-for-profit research and development organization to develop new antibiotic treatments addressing antimicrobial resistance and to promote their responsible use for optimal conservation, while ensuring equitable access for all.

The Communications Team ensures wide, timely, and strategic dissemination of information on DNDi and research in the field of neglected diseases. Target audiences include national and international political leaders, the scientific community, the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, donor countries and organizations, civil society organisations, and the media.


Purpose of the position

The objective of the Senior Press Officer/Writer position is to raise the profile of the organization and its messages/outputs, and increase awareness of neglected diseases and the needs of people living with these diseases, by ensuring that DNDi’s research, scientific achievements, and advocacy messages are carried in global and regional, generalist and specialist, print and digital media.  

Working with the global Communications Team, the Senior Press Officer/Writer will proactively manage a global network of press contacts and develop close working relationships with health, science, and development reporters around the world.

The Senior Press Officer/Writer will also provide English-language writing and editing support to the Communications Team and shape DNDi’s dissemination of its messages/outputs to external audiences.


Specific job responsibilities

Senior Press Officer (estimated time allocation 60-70%) – under the supervision of the Media Lead

Media strategies:

  • Support Media Lead in the definition and implementation of an overarching media strategy for the organization and secure internal buy-in of strategy
  • Coordinate with regional Communications Managers to ensure that regional media angles are identified and pursued, and with Disease Communication Leads to co-ordinate media plans for project milestones
  • Support the organization of media training needs for DNDi spokespersons, as well as training for journalists on issues of interest to DNDi

Media liaison, press requests and press lists:

  • Develop and maintain relationships with editors and reporters in Europe and particularly with the global health/development press corps in Geneva/Paris/London/Brussels/Berlin
  • Attend United Nations Palais briefings regularly and develop contacts with media roles in partner communications in global health organizations in Geneva (notably WHO, other PDPs, MSF, Medicines Patent Pool, etc.)
  • Develop strong relationships with French and German media in particular (and others, depending on language skills)
  • Requests:
    • Act as the global contact for all incoming press requests, assessing urgency and sensitivity of the request, and determining appropriate level of DNDi response
    • Arrange the logistics of interviews, and ensure spokespeople are adequately briefed and prepared
  • Press lists:
    • Actively manage global media database, including by networking with editors and reporters, to ensure DNDi’s list of media contacts is up-to-date, segmented by disease and issue of interest, and constantly progressing with acquisition of new media targets and contacts
    • Work in close collaboration with regional offices to ensure regional media lists are used, up-to-date, segmented, and new contacts acquired
  • Act as focal point for service providers of media dissemination and monitoring software, and manage media subscriptions

Dissemination, monitoring, and reporting:

  • Manage dissemination of press releases and other press material, including active pitching to reporters
  • Generate specific ad hoc coverage reports following media activities
  • Constantly monitor DNDi coverage and other media coverage on priority disease areas to generate new potential press leads, targets, or ideas
  • Compile internal review of “News of Interest” to all DNDi staff


Writer/Editor (estimated time allocation 30-40%) – under the supervision of the Corporate and Scientific Comms Lead

  • In collaboration with colleagues across the Communications Team, write, edit, and/or proofread a wide range of outputs, including:
    • Materials for press pushes (releases, press packs, talking points)
    • Short-form reports such as briefs, brochures, factsheets, features for the annual report, patient stories, etc.
    • Documents for internal use such as talking points
    • Digital content including web blurbs and pages
  • Copy-edit a wide range of documents
  • Contribute to the DNDi style guide and ensure its application
  • Help ensure validation of materials with appropriate colleagues in DNDi and externally and manage versioning


Job requirements

Skills and attributes

  • Ability to use initiative, prioritize, multi-task, and work well under pressure to meet deadlines
  • Clear and systematic thinking that demonstrates good judgment and problem solving competencies
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work equally well with colleagues from varied scientific, non-scientific, cultural, and language backgrounds
  • Engaging outgoing personality with ability to deliver convincing pitches and manage external relationships
  • Well organized and structured
  • Very good analytical skills
  • Ability to contribute to the project delivery under minimum supervision
  • Ability to manage middle sized projects with budget management under supervision
  • Provide specialist services to operational line or project team
  • Ability solve non-routine problems on a case by case/project basis
  • Has certain autonomy for taking actions and decisions
  • Ability to interact with external stakeholders
  • Ability to be the focal point/manager for consultants
  • Ability to supervise at a smaller level


  • Minimum 6 years’ relevant experience in which 2-5 years’ experience in similar role – and 2-5 years’ experience in drafting a variety of English-language content to deadline
  • Experience with scientific, medical, or humanitarian/development communications a major asset
  • Proven ability to work effectively in a team environment and matrix structure
  • Experience of working in public and private sector is highly desirable


  • Graduate or post graduate degree

Other requirements

  • Fluency in English to mother tongue standard required, including superior English language writing, editing, and proofreading skills.
  • Fluent or highly functional French or German is a strong asset
  • Good knowledge of Microsoft Suite


Reporting line

  • S/he reports to the Senior Manager, Corporate and Scientific Communications
  • The Senior Manager, Media acts as contributing manager



The Senior Press Officer/Writer will work closely with numerous parts of DNDi to ensure successful dissemination of DNDi’s messages and outputs:

  • For media:
    • Under the guidance and supervision of the Media Lead, based in New York, to ensure effective delivery of the media strategy and management of media relationships
    • In collaboration with communications and other colleagues in DNDi regional offices (in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Kinshasa, Cape Town, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo), to organize regional media pitching, contacts management, reporting, and other activities
    • In collaboration with Disease Communication Leads and with Corporate and Scientific Communications colleagues, to disseminate DNDi messages to the media
    • As a support to DNDi spokespeople, to prepare talking points and arrange logistics for media interviews
  • For writing/editing:
    • Under the guidance and supervision of the Corporate and Scientific Communications Lead, based in Geneva, to ensure the effective delivery of clear, compelling, and accurate writing and editing tasks
    • As a support to other Communications Team colleagues in the provision of writing and editing tasks


Other information

  • Status: full time – permanent role


To apply

  • Deadline for application: Accepting applications until 9 July 2018
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.