PhD Scholarships in Extragalactic Astronomy at the Cosmic Dawn Center - DTU Space

Job Summary

Pre-doctoral / Graduate Positions
DTU Space, Danmarks Tekniske Universitet
DTU Space
Number of Positions Available
Work Arrangement

Job Description

The Cosmic Dawn Center (DAWN) at the Section for Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics at DTU Space, invites applications for a PhD Fellowship position starting in October 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter. 

DAWN is a center of excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation, and is located at the National Space Institute (DTU Space), Technical University of Denmark and the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI), University of Copenhagen.  The center brings together experts in all aspects of early Universe galaxy evolution and is deeply involved in major existing and upcoming surveys with the James Webb and Hubble Space Telescopes, ALMA, and Euclid, as well as cosmological and zoom-in simulations.  This call covers one PhD position based at DTU-Space. DAWN has a number of associate members at major research institutes across Europe, North America, and Australia.  The successful PhD candidate will be expected to spend several months outside of Denmark, which could be at one of our affiliated institutes or another major research institute whose members are involved in current projects. For more information on the Center's activities and researchers, please see

Responsibilities, qualifications and project description
PhD fellowships are intended for outstanding candidates with a background in astronomy, physics, or related technical disciplines who are generally interested in doing research within DAWN’s research themes: galaxy evolution, epoch of re-ionization, first stars and galaxies, dust and ISM in the early universe, and dark matter. 

In particular, the offered PhD fellowship will be in the context of the formation and evolution of the first massive quiescent galaxies in the Universe. These are mysterious systems that stopped forming new stars several billion years ago, despite the large availability of fresh gas to keep sustaining their star formation. The physical processes regulating their fast growth and sudden death are outstanding issues in current extragalactic astrophysics. To address these questions, the PhD student will work on photometric and spectroscopic data from the James Webb Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope to characterize the physical properties (mass, age, star formation history, metal content, environment) of a large sample of distant quiescent galaxies. 

The PhD student will closely work with several students, post-docs, and faculty members at the Technical University, the Univ. of Copenhagen, and the rest of the international collaboration involved in the project (US, Italy, Switzerland, Japan).      

The position is available for three years for candidates already holding a MSc. The successful applicants are expected to: manage and carry out their own research project, write half-year progress reports, disseminate results at conferences and through scientific articles, undertake teaching duties (up to 15% of working time) and attend PhD courses (30 ECTS). Also, a mandatory research stay during a semester abroad is to be foreseen.             

You must have a two-year master's degree (120 ECTS points) or a similar degree with an academic level equivalent to a two-year master's degree.

Approval and Enrolment 
The scholarships for the PhD degree are subject to academic approval, and the candidates will be enrolled in one of the general degree programmes at DTU. For information about our enrolment requirements and the general planning of the PhD study programme, please see DTU's rules for the PhD education.

The successful candidate has outstanding analytical and problem-solving skills to become a committed researcher with a drive for excellence. Programming experience (python/IDL) and experience in handling of large data sets are an advantage but not required.

The assessment of the applicants will be made by the DTU Space and DAWN staff.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Salary and appointment terms 
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years. 

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Starting date is in October 2024 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Further information
Further information may be obtained from Associate Professor Georgios Magdis ([email protected]), tel.: +45 4525 9688 or Dr. Francesco Valentino ([email protected])

You can read more about DTU Space at and the Cosmic Dawn Center at

If you are applying from abroad, you may find useful information on working in Denmark and at DTU at DTU – Moving to Denmark. Furthermore, you have the option of joining our monthly free seminar “PhD relocation to Denmark and startup “Zoom” seminar” for all questions regarding the practical matters of moving to Denmark and working as a PhD at DTU.

Application procedure 
Your complete online application must be submitted no later than 10 March 2024 (23:59 Danish time).

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link "Apply now", fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:

A letter motivating the application (cover letter)

Curriculum vitae 

Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma (in English) including official description of grading scale

Incomplete applications will not be considered. You may apply prior to ob­tai­ning your master's degree but cannot begin before having received it. 

Applications received after the deadline will not be considered.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, disability, race, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

The Space Institute has about 200 employees and is located in the greater Copenhagen area at the Lyngby Campus of the Technical University of Denmark together with 21 other institutes within the technical sciences. We link natural science closely with the development of new technology. DTU Space is involved in the full life cycle of space activities, including concept and design, construction and proto-typing, calibration and validation, implementation and operations, data analysis, processing, dissemination, and applications, leading to new instruments and applications. With the specialized and refined technology available, we are getting more and more answers and further insight about the Earth and the universe surrounding us. We contribute to about 200 scientific publications a year.

In the Astrophysics & Atmospheric Physics Division of the Department of Space Research and Space Technology (DTU Space), current focus areas cover large-scale structure of the universe, physics of compact objects, exoplanets, upper atmosphere physics and cosmo-climatology as well as development of instrumentation, in particular high-energy instrumentation, i.e. X- and gamma ray detectors and -optics.  The division is currently active in the operation of instruments and data analysis from three satellites. The division also runs four instrumentation laboratories and hosts a center for space weather research and forecasts.



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DTU develops technology for people. With our international elite research and study programmes, we are helping to create a better world and to solve the global challenges formulated in the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Hans Christian Ørsted founded DTU in 1829 with a clear mission to develop and create value using science and engineering to benefit society. That mission lives on today. DTU has 13,500 students and 6,000 employees. We work in an international atmosphere and have an inclusive, evolving, and informal working environment. DTU has campuses in all parts of Denmark and in Greenland, and we collaborate with the best universities around the world.

Application Details

Publication Start Date
2024 Feb 14
Application Deadline
2024 Mar 14


Georgios Magdis