Head of Communication Unit

EFSA - European Food Safety Authority

Head of Communication Unit

Temporary Agent, AD9

EFSA - European Food Safety Authority

Parma, Italy

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), based in Parma, Italy is looking for a Head of Communication Unit, (Temporary Agent, Grade AD9).

The text of this call is available in all EU official languages [here].

Please send us your application by no later than 15 March 2018 at midnight (local time, GMT +1), following the instructions in the ANNEX.


We are looking for an experienced communications professional, an inspirational and collaborative leader who is comfortable with strategic leadership, change management and creativity.

You will drive the execution of EFSA’s strategy towards 2020 and beyond, through the development of accurate, timely and compelling content that is disseminated in the most impactful way to a variety of audiences. You will effectively manage internal and external communication of the Agency and increase engagement through targeted and impactful communications based on the results of communication and social science research.

As Head of the Communication Unit you will guide an experienced team of approximately 25 staff. The Unit was recently reorganised and is composed of four teams: Media and Social Media; Content, Social Science and Internal Communications; Web, Design and digital collaboration; and the EFSA Journal.

Mission statement of the Unit:

The Communication Unit serves to improve trust in EFSA by increasing the visibility of its work, protecting and enhancing its reputation, and fostering co-operation among partners and stakeholders at national, EU, and global level. The Communication Unit, together with the Engagement and Cooperation Unit, belongs to the Communication, Engagement and Cooperation Department (COMCO).

Value proposition:

  • The basis of the unit’s work is clear, independent, accurate, timely and compelling communications. This should be targeted to specific audiences, e.g. risk managers, the scientific community, EU institutions and agencies, civil society stakeholders and other food chain actors, the media, the general public and EFSA staff and experts depending on the need;
  • Considering the increasing scrutiny of food safety policy and science by civil society, the work of the unit needs to be informed by engagement with EFSA’s partners and stakeholders, social science and target audience research, to better understand and address the societal factors that shape how EFSA’s risk assessment and risk communications are received.

Staff in the Communication, Engagement and Cooperation Department (COMCO) department seek to adopt a partnership approach in all that they do, both in the relationships that they develop with colleagues in other EFSA departments and in the way that they engage with external stakeholders.

The jobholder will report to the Head of the Communication, Engagement and Cooperation Department.

Your key responsibilities

Operations supervision:

  • Manage EFSA’s overall communication plan, coordinating and overseeing the development of accurate, timely and compelling content for external and internal communications;
  • Develop the content of EFSA’s Scientific Journal, ensuring enhanced digitalisation and broader outreach to scientific audiences;
  • Ensure strategic alignment and consistency of all EFSA’s internal and external communications;
  • Liaise with the press, and adapt communication styles to the different types of media;
  • Build solid cooperation relationships with scientific departments for the development of appropriate scientific material;
  • Enhance EFSA’s visibility towards the wide range of stakeholders, by applying appropriate communication tools;
  • Manage crisis communication for EFSA;
  • Advise the Head of Department on the strategic planning of the department and of the Agency and help define the priorities in line with EFSA’s overall strategy and objective.


  • Lead, motivate and coach the Unit staff and partner with EFSA’s managerial community, providing professional advice and support and ensuring development and retention of talent;
  • Provide strategic vision, direction and leadership to achieve the Unit’s mission;
  • Manage the Unit’s budget, through sound planning and monitoring of the allocated resources.


You will play an active role in an organisation that makes a difference to the lives of 500 million EU citizens.

EFSA employs approximately 450 staff members, and its Scientific Committee and Panels engage highly qualified and independent scientific experts. Every position within EFSA plays an important part in creating an inspirational environment in which to work and develop.

Read more about EFSA Strategy 2020.


Life in Parma:

Parma is an elegant city of around 200.000 inhabitants located in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. Its centre is rich of art, parks and treasures from different ages. Parma is famous for its food, wine flavours and its variable surrounding landscape with small villages, rich of history and liveliness, medieval castles, and picturesque countryside. Parma is strategically located between major Italian cities like Milano and Bologna, and also within reachable distance to ski resorts, natural parks, seaside and mountains.

Salary and benefits:

EFSA can offer the selected candidate a contract of 5 years with the possibility of renewal.

The successful candidate will be recruited as Temporary Agent Grade AD9 with the basic salary starting from € 7.714,25, subject to an annual review of remuneration provided for in Article 65(1) of the Staff Regulations.

In addition to the basic salary, EFSA offers a range of benefits:

  • Various allowances to which the successful jobholder may be entitled, such as a household allowance, expatriation allowance (16% of basic salary), dependent child allowance and education allowance. The salary is subject to a Community tax deducted at source and staff members are exempt from national taxation.
  • A comprehensive welfare package including pension scheme, medical, accident and occupational disease insurance coverage, unemployment and invalidity allowance, and travel insurance. Further information regarding rights, conditions of employment and benefits can be found at the following links:

Staff Regulations
Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about EFSA, visit us @ http://www.efsa.europa.eu.

Please note that the ANNEX represents an integral part of this vacancy and should be consulted before completing your online application form.

This established reserve list may be used for the recruitment of a similar position depending on the needs of EFSA, and will be valid until 31/12/2019 (the validity of the reserve list may be extended).


You must satisfy the following requirements on the closing date for submission of your application:

I. Eligibility criteria

1. General requirements

  • Be national of a Member State of the European Union, Iceland or Norway;
  • Enjoy full rights as a citizen;
  • Have fulfilled any obligations imposed by laws concerning military service;
  • Be physically fit to perform the duties linked to the post;[1]
  • Have a thorough knowledge of one of the EU official languages and a satisfactory knowledge of another EU language;
  • Meet the character requirements for the duties involved.

2. Qualifications

a) A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies of at least four (4) years attested by a diploma[2] in one of the following fields: journalism, communications, social sciences or any related discipline;


b) A level of education which corresponds to completed university studies of at least three (3) years attested by a diploma[2] in one of the following fields: journalism, communications, social sciences or any related discipline, and in addition at least one (1) year of professional experience.

3. Experience

In addition to the above, at least twelve (12) years of proven professional experience[3] acquired after having obtained the qualifications mentioned in point 2 in positions corresponding to the nature of duties of the vacant post. Out of these twelve (12) years, at least six (6) years must have been gained in management functions (Head of Unit, Head of Sector, Team Leader or equivalent).

II. Selection criteria

1. Experience and knowledge

i. At least 6 years of proven experience in a managerial role (Head of Unit, Head of Sector, Team Leader or equivalent), preferably gained in a multicultural environment;

ii. Proven experience in managing and coordinating different communication activities (e.g. management of press offices, development of campaigns and communication materials, web communication, etc.) with a wide range of multimedia;

iii. Experience in crisis communications and in developing preparedness plans and training;

iv. Experience gained in or working with the public sector and in an international/multicultural environment will be considered an asset;

v. Experience gained in a scientific context will be considered an asset.

2. Competencies

vi. Excellent spoken and written English;

vii. Excellent ability to communicate complex scientific contents in an accessible manner;

viii. Ability to manage and promote change as a creative, value-adding and innovative leader;

ix. Ability to get the best out of team members, inspire and motivate them, by being approachable and able to listen;

x. Ability to focus on critical facts and coordinate multiple activities to achieve goals;

xi. Ability to apply strong communication, negotiation and influencing skills within a complex organisation;

xii. Ability to maintain a high level of professional ethics and integrity.


In the event of inconsistency or discrepancy between the English version and any of the other linguistic versions of this publication, the English language version shall prevail.

[1] Before appointment, a successful candidate shall be medically examined by an institution’s medical officer in order that the European Food Safety Authority may be satisfied that he/she fulfils the requirement of article 28(e) of the Staff Regulations of the Officials of the European Communities.

[2] Any academic qualification mentioned in the application form shall be duly supported by evidence (original or certified copies of e.g. diplomas, certification, etc.) Only qualifications issued by EU Member State authorities and qualifications recognised as equivalent by the relevant EU Member State authorities will be accepted. In instances where diplomas are obtained from a non-EU Member State, EFSA may request the candidate to provide a relevant document of comparability issued by a recognised authority.

[3] Any professional experience mentioned in the application form shall be duly supported by evidence (original or certified copies of e.g. contracts, payslips etc.). Professional experience shall be taken into account from the date on which the person fulfils the minimum qualifications for engagement. In order for the professional experience to be taken into consideration, it must be supported by relevant documents attesting an actual work relationship defined by the following elements: real, genuine work; on a paid basis; as employee (any type of contract), or provider of a service. Any given period may be counted only once (in order to be calculated as eligible, years of studies or professional experience to be taken into account shall not overlap with other periods of studies or professional experience). Professional activities pursued part-time will be calculated pro-rata on the basis of the certified percentage of full-time hours worked. Remunerated PhDs acquired in a field relevant to the job description can be counted as professional experience up to 3 years. Paid traineeships are counted as working experience. Prior to contract signature, the successful candidate(s) will need to provide original versions of documents proving the candidate’s work experience.

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