Established in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) is a collaborative, patients’ needs-driven, non-profit drug research and development (R&D) organization that is developing new treatments for Neglected Diseases.

The External Affairs Department designs, implements, and evaluates policy advocacy, communications, and fundraising strategies for DNDi, and supports alignment between DNDi and GARDP in these areas. The global team has 35 members, the majority in Geneva, but also in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, New Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, and Tokyo.

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

Purpose of the position

As part of the global Communications team, the objective of the Senior Communications Officer – Press/Digital position is to raise the profile of the organization and its messages and achievements, and increase awareness of neglected diseases and the needs of people living with these diseases, by ensuring that DNDi’s research and messages are carried in global and regional, generalist and specialist, print and digital media, as well as television and radio.

The Senior Communications Officer will develop close working relationships with health, science, and development reporters around the world. In close collaboration with the Media Lead and regional communications staff, they will leverage this network to generate ‘evergreen’ pitching ideas and develop opportunities for additional visibility for DNDi in the media. The Senior Communications Officer is responsible for maintaining direct contact with European journalists and supports DNDi regional communications teams who manage contacts in Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, North America, and South Asia.

The Senior Communications Officer will also be a member of the digital communications team, shaping DNDi’s dissemination of its messages/outputs to external audiences via DNDi’s websites and social media.

Specific job responsibilities

Press Relations (estimated time allocation 60-70%)

Under the supervision of the Media Lead based in New York:

Media strategies

Support Media Lead and other relevant colleagues in the definition and implementation of an overarching media strategy for DNDi, with specific deliverables to include:

  • Co-ordinating media plans for project milestones with relevant colleagues, including by attending briefings and brainstorms to develop media angles
  • Drafting, secure validation, and lead on dissemination of press releases, messaging notes, Q&A, talking points, press packs, etc.
  • Working closely with Regional Communications Managers to ensure that regional media angles are identified and actively pursued
  • Coordinating the organization of media training needs for DNDi spokespersons
  • Coordinating “journalist workshops” training for journalists on issues of interest to DNDi (e.g. neglected diseases, paediatrics, clinical trials, etc.)
  • Participating in the identification and management of external consultants to help with specific media markets where DNDi does not have a communications presence
  • Working with Scientific Communications Lead to develop pitches and media dissemination strategies related to DNDi key scientific publications

Media liaison, press requests, and press lists

  • Manage all incoming press requests for Geneva staff in HQ:
    • 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, ensure spokespeople are adequately briefed and prepared, attend interviews/proof-read interviews where possible, and ensure all appropriate follow-up is done
    • Support regional offices for regional media requests where appropriate
  • Manage the media database, provide administrative support for the database to all offices, and encourage its regular use across DNDi global communications team and media consultants, including for reporting, metrics, contact acquisition and management, etc.
    • Actively manage global media database 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
    • Network with editors and reporters to ensure database up-to-date
    • Administer licenses and database cleaning for database programmes and liaise with software providers
    • Identify resourcing needs for database administration. E.g., interns
  • Act as focal point for service providers of media dissemination and monitoring software, and manage media subscriptions

Specific focus on European Media markets

  • 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/Amsterdam
  • 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.)

Dissemination, monitoring, and reporting

  • Manage dissemination of press releases and other press material, including by determining a dissemination plan in advance and through active pitching to reporters
  • Generate specific ad hoc coverage reports following media activities for use by the Communications team and the broader DNDi team
  • Constantly monitor DNDi coverage and other media coverage on priority disease areas to generate new potential press leads, targets, or ideas
  • Assess with Internal Communications function how to provide an internal review of “News of Interest” to all DNDi staff

Digital communications (estimated time allocation 30-40%)

Under the supervision of the Digital Lead, based in Geneva:

Writing for the web

  • In collaboration with colleagues across the Communications team, write, edit and/or proofread a wide range of outputs for digital use such as web blurbs and webpages
  • Propose and write news pieces, viewpoints, and stories for use on DNDi websites to accompany communications pushes and report on newsworthy DNDi activities
  • Collaborate with Communications team members on planning an effective editorial calendar of written content for web and social media

Social media

  • Draft tweets/other social media posts to accompany press releases, media articles that cover DNDi, the diseases and issues on which DNDi is working, and scientific articles published by DNDi co-authors
  • Propose tweets/other social media posts for the personal account of DNDi Executive Director that cover DNDi achievements, messages, and news

Additional writer/editor tasks

  • In collaboration with corporate communications, provide copy-editing and writing support on a wide range of documents and outputs as required

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
  • Very good communication skills in multicultural, multi-lingual environments
  • Ability to work effectively as part of a multicultural team
  • 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

Technical skills

  • Languages: ideally English fluency, including superior English language writing, editing, and proofreading skills. The ideal candidate will also have fluent or highly functional French or German. Lack of English fluency could be compensated by a great eye for a story and strong storytelling experience


  • Minimum 6 years’ relevant experience in which at least 3 years at Officer level or equivalent
  • Demonstrated experience working with the press – around 4-5 years’ experience in similar role – and 4-5 years’ experience in drafting a variety of English-language content to deadline
  • Comfortable with social media particularly Twitter and/or LinkedIn
  • 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

  • Good knowledge of Microsoft Suite

Other information

  • Status: full time – permanent role

To apply

  • Please submit your application using the online form
  • Deadline for application: accepting applications until 27 March 2020
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted 
  • Application submission for this position may close early if we have enough suitable applicants

Read more about DNDi at or visit DNDi job opportunities.