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News Release 04-038

National Science Foundation Signs Cooperative Agreement with Joint Oceanographic Institution to Lead U.S. Efforts in Integrated Ocean Drilling Program

March 30, 2004

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Arlington, Va.—The National Science Foundation (NSF) has signed a cooperative agreement with the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, a consortium of 20 academic institutions, to lead U.S. participation in the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) through the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP). USSSP will support U.S. scientists in all IODP platforms, encouraging broad community involvement in all phases of the drilling effort. The award is for $15 million over three years.

"We look forward to active participation in the exciting new IODP by the U.S. science community," said James Yoder, director of NSF's division of ocean sciences. "IODP will explore the deep biosphere, sub-seafloor ocean, processes and effects of environmental change, and solid earth cycles and dynamics. Using new tools not available in the predecessor ocean drilling programs, scientists anticipate exciting results in these areas."

According to JOI president Steven Bohlen, "USSSP will be a key component of IODP, supporting comprehensive participation of the U.S. community in scientific ocean drilling. Furthermore the program will expand education and community engagement activities to magnify the benefits of ocean drilling research, developing a fresh generation of ocean science leaders and helping create an ocean science literate society."

USSSP will support specific objectives including:

  • Support U.S. scientists' travel and salary to participate in IODP drilling expeditions and post- expedition research.

  • Support for workshops to consider new avenues of research and U.S. participation in the IODP planning process via its international Science Advisory Structure.

  • Encourage activities that further the planning and development of ocean drilling proposals and expeditions. These pre-drilling activities could include supporting U.S. participation on non-U.S. site surveys, analyzing data sets for integration into mature drilling proposals, and innovative downhole measurements or experiments.

  • Educational and community engagement programs that expose the U.S. populace, especially students and educators, to earth system science. Through them, JOI also seeks to fully engage and expand the research community participating in scientific ocean drilling.

  • Development or refinement of unique or innovative instrumentation for core or borehole analysis and experiments that may be required in IODP.

  • Development of an effective administrative and coordination structure to interact with the U.S. and international scientific community and to disseminate drilling results.

IODP is an international program that uses multiple drilling vessels to explore the history and structure of the Earth through scientific ocean drilling. Through an Alliance with Texas A&M University and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, JOI leads the operations of a riserless vessel in IODP. Japan and the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling will also operate platforms in the program. Japan will contribute Chikyu, a $500 million riser vessel that will begin service in 2006 and Europe will operate mission specific platforms to ice-covered and shallow-water regions.


Media Contacts
Cheryl Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, email:
Kasey White, JOI, (202) 232-3900, email:

Program Contacts
Rodey Batiza, NSF, (703) 292-8580, email:
Bruce Malfait, NSF, (703) 292-8580, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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