NSF PR 03-110 - September 30, 2003
NSF Awards Contract for Start of Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
Arlington, Va.—The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded
a contract to an alliance of the Joint Oceanographic Institutions
(JOI), Inc., Texas A&M University, and the Lamont-Doherty Earth
Observatory of Columbia University to operate a scientific
drillship as part of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program
(IODP). The contract has an estimated cost of $626
million over 10 years.
The contract names the alliance the system integration
contractor, responsible for program management; planning for
scientific services and drillship operations; drilling, coring,
and logging of seafloor sediments and crustal rock; collecting,
analyzing, storing, curating, and disseminating data, samples and
results; and science education and outreach.
Bruce Malfait, head of the marine geosciences section at NSF,
said that "signing the contract is a major step in implementing
IODP and follows on recommendations of the international
scientific community developed over the past seven years of
planning for this exciting new program. The alliance
institutions have provided exemplary service during the Ocean
Drilling Program, and we have every confidence they will meet the
increased challenges of the IODP."
JOI president Steven Bohlen added, ""The alliance looks forward to
building upon our past successes with the Ocean Drilling Program
and reaching future science goals with innovative approaches."
The contract signing comes just before the official start of IODP
on October 1, 2003, and will allow the United States to bring a
research vessel online by next June. Following the advice of the
IODP science planning and operations committees, the first
expedition will take place next summer at the Juan de Fuca Ridge
in the northeast Pacific Ocean to study fluids in the oceanic
IODP will use the ship JOIDES Resolution for this expedition.
The JOIDES Resolution was used for nearly 20 years by the Ocean
Drilling Program, and with minor improvements, will be used by
IODP for one to two years. An enhanced vessel capable of
achieving the long-range science and engineering goals of IODP
will then be acquired, converted, and operated by the alliance.
In addition to the JOIDES Resolution, IODP will use a vessel
currently under construction in Japan named Chikyu ("Earth").
Plans are also underway for additional countries to sponsor
special platforms for drilling in shallow water and ice-covered
IODP is an international program of basic research that builds
upon the legacies of the Deep Sea Drilling Project (1968-1983)
and the Ocean Drilling Program (1983-2003). IODP is guided by its
science plan, which encompasses three main themes: the Deep
Biosphere and Subseafloor Ocean; Environmental Change, Processes,
and Effects; and Solid Earth Cycles and Geodynamics. More
information is available online at www.iodp.org.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5.3 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards. The NSF also awards over $200 million in professional and service contracts yearly.
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