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DAWN IRES Scholars Program, NSF-funded

August 2019: The DAWN-IRES Scholars Program Webpage has moved!

For more information about the program and future updates, please visit

Applications for the 2019 cohort of the DAWN-IRES Scholars Program is now closed.  We welcome applicants for the 2020 DAWN Scholars Program starting in December 2019. 

When and where does the program run?  The 2020 DAWN Scholars Program will run for 11 weeks at the Cosmic Dawn Center of Excellence in Copenhagen Denmark, nominally starting the first week of June and running through mid-August. One week is built in for students to take a vacation, to be coordinated in advance to overlap with your research mentor’s vacation when possible.  There is some flexibility in the start and end-dates of the program, to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, to accommodate conflicting US university academic calendars.

Copenhagen, Tivoli, bicycle, Nyhavn
Copenhagen is the bike capital of the world, with half of citizens commuting by bicycle daily. Right in the heart of this historic city is the second oldest operational amusement park, the beautiful Tivoli Gardens (right). Nyhavn port (bottom, left) is filled each day with people enjoying the relaxed atmosphere by the canal, jazz music and great food. Copenhagen is big enough to be a metropolis with shopping, culture and nightlife, yet small enough to be intimate, safe and easy to navigate.

Who is eligible to apply?  Because our program is funded by a federal agency (NSF), we can only accept students who are US citizens or green card holders.  Both undergraduate students and graduate students within their first two years of a masters or PhD program are eligible. We strongly encourage women and members of underrepresented groups to apply. 

What is covered?  DAWN Scholars will receive a $6500 stipend to cover the cost of living in Copenhagen.  Travel funds to/from Copenhagen and the winter American Astronomical Society meeting will be covered in addition to the stipend, with travel arrangements to be made directly through the University of Connecticut.

How do I apply?  Applications should be completed through the online form (to become available in December 2019), requiring two references and a single PDF document containing an unofficial academic transcript, curriculum vitae, a 1-page maximum personal statement, and an optional answer to a challenge question (see below).

  • Please include a summary of your computer programming skills (if any) in your curriculum vitae.
  • The personal statement should describe your background and interests, including details about the unique talents and characteristics you will bring to the internship program.  Please include your long-term personal and professional goals.  You are welcome to include any other relevant information; this may include discussing a challenge you have faced and how you overcame it.
  • There is an option to include your response to one of two challenge questions (to be listed on the online application). There are no clear correct answers to these questions, just like many research problems you may encounter throughout your career. Rather, you are encouraged to describe how you come up with your answer, as we are mostly interested in the thought process that you use when attacking an unfamiliar problem.

How are letters of recommendation submitted?  You will need to provide the names and email addresses for (at least) two references who have agreed to write letters of recommendation.  You will provide the names and email addresses of your letter writers for tracking purposes, but the applicant is responsible for requesting these letters directly. We strongly recommend you give your letter writers notice no later than a week prior to the deadline to enable ample time for submission.  Please forward the following link (or to your letter writers so that they can upload their letters of support.

What is the deadline?  Applications will close for the 2020 DAWN-IRES Scholars Program on February 1, 2020.  To receive full consideration, all application materials and letters of recommendation must be received on this date. We recommend checking in with your letter writers as this deadline approaches. You will receive an email as the letters are submitted.

When will offers be made?  We expect to make initial offers on March 1, 2020 (and about mid-March for students on the wait list). Travel arrangements must be made for DAWN/IRES Scholars by the mid April and the summer program is scheduled to run from early June through mid-August.

Other Questions?  Please email

Copenhagen at night