Opportunities for permanent roles in a range of business sectors

Principal Communications Advisor

Eastern AHSN (Academic Health Science Network) is part of a national network of AHSNs established by the NHS to convene all partners in the health sector, develop and deliver innovative care. Our purpose is to turn great ideas into positive health impact.

We believe that health is improved by great ideas, but great ideas only make an impact when they are put into practice. Our health is too important to leave change to chance.

Citizens, academia, health services and industry will achieve more working together than they will in isolation. Our job is to make this happen and we do this by helping innovators navigate complex systems, generate value propositions and convene stakeholders to overcome challenges together.

The Eastern region is home to some of the greatest science and the most brilliant health and care practitioners in the world. We want our region to benefit from both, creating better health outcomes and more prosperity.

We are ambitious for patients and committed to applying evidence to make change happen.

This is a central role within Eastern AHSN working across the organisation to drive effective engagement and build collaboration with our many cross-sector local, regional and national partner organisations. The work you do will play a key role in supporting reactive and proactive communications through an intensive delivery period and will have high visibility and involvement strategically advising the senior management team an act as deputy to the Director of Communications, Engagement and Marketing.


The post-holder will be part of an integrated communications, engagement and marketing team to help transform our technical content and channel capability whilst further strengthen our media and events capability with the goal of ensuring our communications capabilities are on a par with leading commercial organisations/communications consultancies across our stakeholder sectors.


Our communications agenda is broad and complex. Our critical role of communicating our purpose to a broad and diverse audience requires meaningful and engaging content, use of a diverse range of formats and competent editorial of often complex technical content supported by smart events and communications campaigns to position us as experts and mobilise advocates on our behalf. Finding innovative way to engage with our committed workforce will also be key to success as will honing our media relations and events giving Eastern AHSN a voice, whilst also being keen to listen.


Every member of the team will provide general support whilst leading on one key area of activity (content, project communications, stakeholder engagement or events). In addition to leading on their specific areas they will enable and upskill the rest of the business in their areas of expertise. Additionally, each individual will be expected to be act as team players by helping their colleagues where needed with experience and expertise across all areas of marketing, communications and engagement.


Purpose of role:

The Principal Communications Advisor contributes to and implements the communication strategy in accordance with the organisation’s goals and ensure all communications align consistently with key corporate messages. It will focus on the following key areas:

  1. Lead on communications support for the commercial and projects team through researching media opportunities related to on potential/current partnerships/projects, managing both internal and external communications of project/ innovator communications.
  2. Develop and supporting more junior communications managers / executives to create and deliver communications programmes that drive the business goals through a deep understanding of the health innovation space and stakeholder and environmental issues.
  3. Support for day-to-day communications and engagement activity, including digital communications, project and campaign planning and media management.


Key responsibilities:

  • Develop and lead the implementation of creative communications initiatives for innovators/projects as appropriate ensuring key audiences are identified and the best channels are used to drive required awareness and behaviour changes.  Work closely with project teams and innovator partners to deliver an integrated package of communications strategies for products at a variety of stages in their lifecycle and varied audiences, whilst simultaneously raising the profile of Eastern AHSN
  • Maintain a deep understanding of innovator partners’ goals, the critical success factors underpinning them and the challenges and opportunities that may impact them in the external policy and communications environment. Identify and understand the internal and external audiences relevant to projects and prioritise and management with them
  • Provide ongoing strategic communications counsel as a business partner to both colleagues and innovator partners in collaboration with the Director of Communications, Engagement and Marketing Director to ensure all opportunities for communications are maximised and risks mitigated
  • Identify and deliver a strategy to drive the commercial growth of the organisation by commoditising support provided by the communications team
  • Build relationships with key media regionally and nationally, leading the development of a media engagement plan to ensure sustained coverage for Eastern AHSN and our partners throughout the year 
  • Work with and support wider communications team to ensure the effective evaluation of communications, delivery of monthly reports to ensure both successes are celebrated, and any learnings are applied across the team
  • Manage budgets and agency support, ensuring the efficient use of resources and comms team to deliver all activities professionally and efficiently  
  • Develop and execute corporate communications strategies to enhance and maximise Eastern AHSN’s corporate reputation, visibility, recognition/awareness, positioning, message penetration and brand identity through corporate communications, executive communications, speaking engagements, thought leadership activities that are meaningful, innovative and differentiating, support our business goals and reach key stakeholders
  • Work with wider business, including project, patient safety and commercial teams, to ensure corporate communications strategies, tactics and materials are fully aligned with the overall business strategy, business objectives, corporate communications goals and meet the needs of all internal and external stakeholders.
  • Lead the development and implementation of executive communications and thought leadership activities and support execution through media training, message training, presentations, speeches and talking points
  • Lead on corporate branding (both visual and verbal).  Ensure a consistent style, tone and cadence for all internal, external and executive communications 
  • Promote our commercial goals, through communication about our strategic business development capabilities, expertise and experience.
  • Attract prospective employees, and position Eastern AHSN as a place where professionals want to work and where talent can lead a successful and fulfilling career.
  • Demonstrate understanding of all parts of the business.  Provide trusted communications counsel and expertise and serve as communications business partner to the project team
  • Build and maintain a strong and positive network of key internal stakeholders throughout the AHSN Network. Provide support and counsel and where relevant alignment, coordination and connectivity across the national network in support of the national communications team.  Facilitate engagement, collaboration, sharing of best practices wherever possible
  • Effectively anticipate and provide support for corporate communications needs related to major internal or external events and activities
  • Work in partnership with Stakeholder and Engagement Manager to help establish and maintain strong relationships and connectivity to key stakeholders, professional organisations, advocacy groups and other third parties (local community, golden triangle, national) to deliver outputs that support the organisation and its values
  • Develop and implement media relations strategies and activities and support Content Manager to deliver a strategic digital media strategy to support business needs, corporate announcements and to ensure maximum key message penetration.  Help manage company news flow and press office activities.  Develop proactive and reactive core communications materials as needed, including news releases, media backgrounds, standby statements, Q&As, etc.  Coordinate approval processes and distribution of media materials.  Build, maintain and enhance connectivity and strong relationships with key media and industry commentators and act as a key contact for journalists
  • Engage employees and motivate / educate them through meaningful internal communications platforms, programmes and events (in collaboration with HR, as appropriate), with a view to developing employees as ambassadors for the company, who understand our organisational purpose, our desired culture and don’t want to leave.


Support for day-today communications and engagement activity

  • Help to build, shape and transform the communications team into a dynamic, cohesive, innovative and proactive core business function, with the necessary skills and communications capabilities to efficiently support critical business needs and to enhance the services the team offers the rest of the business
  • Act as an ambassador for the communications function, both internally and externally to demonstrate and champion the value that communications brings to Eastern AHSN
  • Ensure operational excellence, creation of value and delivery of exemplary, impactful, compliant and measurable results.  Appoint and manage agencies, sub-contractors and third-party suppliers effectively to produce high-quality results, on-time execution and cost-effective delivery. Assess ongoing performance and ensure efficient use of budgets
  • As a member of the communications, engagement and marketing team undertake other duties reasonably required and commensurate with the post including support wider communications and engagement activities including media relations, social and digital media, production of newsletters, reports, documents and briefings as needed
  • Evaluate the success and impact of all activities and develop appropriate metrics to provide information for monthly and annual communications and engagement reports and look to always apply learnings
  • Undertake regular benchmarking of our communications activities and conduct horizon scanning to learn and share communications and engagement strategies and tactics undertaken from comparable and diverse industries nationally and internationally – continually seeking ways to do things more efficiently and effectively
  • Supporting effective national communications and engagement via the AHSN Network and support network messaging and priorities
  • Ensure all information gathered on stakeholders are updated on to the CRM
  • Working flexibly e.g. occasional evenings or weekends, especially in relation to supporting key regional, national or project related events 
  • Ensure all activities are ethical and that communications outputs are compliant, relevant, consistent and comply with corporate policies, brand guidelines and GDPR requirements.  Maintain a thorough knowledge of the relevant codes of practice (e.g. ABPI, ABHI) and industry regulations.  Develop and successfully champion the uptake of key communications guidelines and standard operating processes (SOPs) as required.  


Person specification:



Desired requirements

Qualifications and training:


  • A levels
  • Degree or professional qualification
  • Certified member of professional body e.g. CIPR


  • Experience in new business pitch preparation and presentation to support new commercial offers
  • Experience in supporting the design, development, implementation and management of change in a complex, political, multiple stakeholder environment
  • Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of both the NHS and innovators business and keeping up to date on key healthcare industry trends 
  • Understanding of academic/research environments and a demonstrable knowledge of and interest in science communications and issues alongside a track record of translating scientific concepts


  • Strategic communications experience required + 10 years
  • Experience in data/regulatory milestones as well as disease awareness and patient activation initiatives in partnership with community stakeholders
  • Issues and crisis communications experience
  • Proven experience managing staff, programme budgets and agencies
  • Extensive experience of stakeholder engagement
  • Appetite for media relations and track record securing media coverage to drive both awareness and demonstrable change in actions


  • Excellent personal organisation skills, including the ability to prioritise, plan, work to tight deadlines and manage a range of complex administrative demands
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Confidence in ability to interact with people at all levels, adapting your message to audiences
  • Commitment to a high level of customer service to both internal and external customers
  • Able to exhibit a high level of confidentiality, tact and diplomacy
  • Demonstrable experience of working as part of an effective and supportive team culture 
  • Eye for detail – experience in proof reading items such as promotional flyers, invites, brochures and handouts
  • Good IT skills, including in Outlook, Word, Excel, and Power Point
  • Able to navigate changeable and fast-paced environments with high expectations and prioritise workload appropriately
  • Operates at pace without compromising judgement and attention to detail

Disposition/ Aptitude

  • Entrepreneurial spirit with an optimistic/ solutions orientated mindset
  • Positive mindset characterised by strong optimism and strong intention
  • Highest level of integrity and proven skills in diplomacy, problem solving, discretion and confidentiality
  • Open minded, creative, open to new ways of working constantly looking to innovate and improve the ways in which the team works to be more effective and efficient 
  • Brings genuine passion for the work and purpose of the NHS and specifically Eastern AHSN
  • Ability to work flexibly (hours of work and duties) both as an individual and with other colleagues
  • Actively listens, takes accountability
  • Fun


This job description is intended as an outline of the general areas of activity and will be amended in the light of the changing needs of the organisation.

It’s never been a more exciting time to be in health communications at Eastern AHSN with the promise of the intersection of health and tech industries and world leading research institutions and universities in the region. This exciting new role is based in Cambridge at the heart of the region where ideas are born and will give the successful candidate a hands-on role in helping turn these great ideas into positive health impact.

The role would suit an outcomes orientated team player who thrives on working in a fast-paced environment and combines a passion for strategy and creative communications programmes with a focused and disciplined delivery style. The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of success in multiple forms of communication related to health (industry, academia/research and delivery) and experience working in an agency or matrix structured environment with a commercial mindset. Leadership qualities and the ability to engage convincingly with senior stakeholders along with experience of the life sciences, tech industries and NHS will be an advantage.