DAWNs research is focused on the specific period in the history of the Universe know as Cosmic Dawn. This previously unexplored period, 300-600 million years after the big bang is when the first stars, black holes and galaxies is believed to have formed.
DAWN will study the Cosmic Dawn with a suite of new telescopes, designed to study this period as well as though theory and simulations.
James Webb Space Telescope:
With a planned launch in 2020, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is designed to study the stars and gas in the first galaxies. JWST primary mirror is 6.5 m in diameter, and it is equipped with 4 infrared instruments for imaging and spectroscopy. DAWN scientists have partaken in the construction of three of these instruments (NIRSpec, MIRI and NIRISS), and will be involved in the analysis of the first data from the telescope. Check out more at https://jwst.nasa.gov/index.html.
Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA):
Astronomers at DAWN use ALMA to study the emission lines and continuum from the cold and dusty environments that compose the interstellar medium (ISM). The reason behind this is the fact the molecular hydrogen - a fuel for star formation, can only exist in these cold regions of the galaxy. The investigation of these environments is complimentary to the study of hot gas and stellar emission and is imperative in furthering our understanding of galaxy evolution.
The telescope is composed of 66 high precision antennae, each with a diameter of 12m, which act together as a single telescope. ALMA is designed to observe emission from cold dust and gas in the early Universe, complementing JWSTs observations of the hot gas and stars in the first galaxies. For more information check out https://www.almaobservatory.org/en/home/.
Following its launch in 2020, the ESA/Euclid mission will map out a large part of the sky, with the primary goal of constraining the nature of Dark energy. As part of its calibration plan, Euclid will observe 40 square degrees to great depth, the so-called Euclid Deep Fields. These fields will be a treasure trove for finding rare, bright early galaxies. DAWN scientists play a leading role in the exploration of these deep fields, and will have early access to samples of early galaxies for follow up observations with JWST and ALMA. Read more about Euclid at http://sci.esa.int/euclid/.
Supporting extragalactic surveys:
In addition to Euclid, DAWN scientists are involved in a number of the largest existing extragalactic surveys, which will be important sources of targets for JWST and ALMA. These include the COSMOS survey, the Hubble Frontier Field survey, Buffalo, 3DHST, SMUVS, Ultravista and Splash.
Hubble Frontier Field: http://www.stsci.edu/hst/campaigns/frontier-fields/HST-Survey