PhD Fellowships in Extragalactic Astrophysics




Cosmic DAWN Center, Niels Bohr Institute

Faculty of SCIENCE

University of Copenhagen


The Cosmic DAWN Center and the HEAVYMETAL project centred at the Niels Bohr Institute, Faculty of Science at University of Copenhagen invites applications for PhD Fellow positions starting in September 2024, or as soon as possible thereafter.


About the Cosmic DAWN Center

DAWN is a center of excellence funded by the Danish National Research Foundation and is located at the Niels Bohr Institute (NBI), University of Copenhagen and at the Space division of the Danish Technical University (DTU-Space). The center brings together experts in all aspects of early Universe galaxy evolution and is deeply involved in major existing and upcoming surveys with HST, ALMA, Euclid and JWST, theoretical modelling and simulations.


For more information on the Center's activities and researchers, please see


The HEAVYMETAL project, funded by the European Research Council, aims to understand the nuclear and astrophysical origin of the heaviest elements in neutron star mergers.


Who are we looking for?

We invite applications from outstanding candidates with a background in astronomy, physics, or related technical disciplines with strong motivation for doing research within DAWN’s research themes: high-redshift galaxy evolution, epoch of reionization, first stars and galaxies, dust, cosmochemical evolution, and the ISM in the early universe and dark matter, as well as within HEAVYMETAL’s research area: follow-up observations and modelling of neutron star mergers and kilonovae.


Research projects involving both analysis of observations (including from JWST) and/or theoretical modelling are available. Positions are available for three years for candidates holding a 2-year MSc, or for five years in the “Integrated MSc and PhD programme” for very strong candidates holding a 1-year MSc or BSc only.

Principal supervisor:

Principal university supervisor will be Darach Watson,, or another member of the DAWN faculty, depending on the PhD project.

The PhD programme

Depending on your level of education, you can undertake the PhD programme as either:

Option A: A three year full-time study within the framework of the regular PhD programme (5+3 scheme), if you already have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master’s degree.

Option B: An up to five year full-time study programme within the framework of the integrated MSc and PhD programme (the 3+5 scheme), if you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree – but you have an education equivalent to a Danish bachelor's degree.


Option A: Getting into a position on the regular PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the regular programme

To be eligible for the regular PhD programme, you must have completed a degree programme, equivalent to a Danish master’s degree (180 ECTS/3 FTE BSc + 120 ECTS/2 FTE MSc) related to the subject area of the project, e.g. Physics, Astronomy or other related technical discipline. For information of eligibility of completed programmes, see General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database.

Terms of employment in the regular programme

Employment as PhD fellow is full time and for maximum 3 years.

Employment is conditional upon your successful enrolment as a PhD student at the PhD School at the Faculty of SCIENCE, University of Copenhagen. This requires submission and acceptance of an application for the specific project formulated by the applicant.

The terms of employment and salary are in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Option B: Getting into a position on the integrated MSc and PhD programme

Qualifications needed for the integrated MSc and PhD programme

If you do not have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish master´s degree, you might be qualified for the integrated MSc and PhD programme, if you have an education equivalent to a relevant Danish bachelor´s degree. Here you can find out, if that is relevant for you: General assessments for specific countries and Assessment database

Terms of the integrated programme

To be eligible for the integrated scholarship, you are (or are eligible to be) enrolled at one of the faculty’s master programmes in Astrophysics. Students on the integrated programme will enroll as PhD students simultaneously with completing their enrollment in this MSc degree programme.

The duration of the integrated programme is up to five years, and depends on the amount of credits that you have passed on your MSc programme. For further information about the study programme, please see:, “Study Structures”.

Until the MSc degree is obtained, (when exactly two years of the full 3+5 programme remains), the grant will be paid partly in the form of 48 state education grant portions (in Danish: “SU-klip”) plus salary for work (teaching, supervision etc.) totalling a workload of at least 150 working hours per year. A PhD grant portion is DKK 6,589 before tax.

When you have obtained the MSc degree, you will transfer to the salary-earning part of the scholarship for a period of two years. At that point, the terms of employment and payment will be according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State (AC). The position is covered by the Protocol on Job Structure.

Responsibilities and tasks in both PhD programmes

  • Complete and pass the MSc education in accordance with the curriculum of the MSc programme (ONLY when you are attending the integrated MSc and PhD programme)
  • Carry through an independent research project under supervision
  • Complete PhD courses corresponding to approx. 30 ECTS / ½ FTE
  • Participate in active research environments, including a stay at another research institution, preferably abroad
  • Teaching and knowledge dissemination activities
  • Write scientific papers aimed at high impact journals
  • Write and defend a PhD thesis based on your project


We are looking for the following qualifications:

  • Professional qualifications relevant to the PhD project
  • Relevant work experience
  • Relevant publications
  • Other relevant professional activities
  • Curious mind-set with a strong interest in the research themes of DAWN and HEAVYMETAL
  • Excellent English language skills



Application and Assessment Procedure

Your application including all attachments must be in English and submitted electronically by clicking APPLY NOW below.

Please include

  1. A statement describing your research interests, experience and background and your motivation for applying for a PhD position at DAWN (maximum 2 pages, text, figures and references included).
  2. Curriculum vitae including information about your education, experience, any publications, language skills and other skills relevant for the position.
  3. Original diplomas for Bachelor of Science or Master of Science and transcript of records in the original language, including an authorized English translation if issued in another language than English or Danish. If the education is not yet completed, a certified/signed copy of a recent transcript of records or a written statement from the institution or supervisor is accepted.
  4. Contact details (Name, address, telephone & email) of 3 people who can provide reference letters.


Application deadline:

The deadline for applications is 31 January 2024, 23:59 GMT +1.


We reserve the right not to consider material received after the deadline, and not to consider applications that do not live up to the above-mentioned requirements.


The further process

After the deadline, a number of applicants will be selected for academic assessment by an unbiased expert assessor. You are notified whether you will be passed for assessment.

The assessor will assess the qualifications and experience of the shortlisted applicants with respect to the above-mentioned research area, techniques, skills and other requirements. The assessor will conclude whether each applicant is qualified and, if so, for which of the two models. The assessed applicants will have the opportunity to comment on their assessment. You can read about the recruitment process at


Interviews with selected candidates are expected to be held in late March/early April.


For specific information please contact Darach Watson ( or Guarn Nissen (

General information about PhD study at the Faculty of SCIENCE is available at the PhD School’s website:

The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the surrounding community and invites all regardless of personal back. ground to apply for the position.



Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.


Application deadline: 31-01-2024
Employment start: 01-09-2024
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Niels Bohr Institutet

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