USSSP Letter to the Community



We are pleased to have entered into a five year cooperative agreement with NSF to manage the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP) for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP). USSSP has historically played an important role in the success of ODP and IODP, and we intend to continue a strong tradition of support for U.S. IODP researchers by funding pre-drilling activities and workshops, as well as providing expedition-related support for U.S. participants on all IODP platforms. We will work closely with the U.S. Advisory Committee (USAC) and the community at large to identify and promote the most innovative and exceptional ideas offered by individuals and thematically-driven scientific groups. We will also ensure that early career scientists and graduate students are provided with opportunities to participate in all aspects of the U.S. IODP effort, thus nurturing the careers of the next generation of leaders in Earth science research. And finally, by bringing the scientific results and technical achievements of IODP to educators and the public at large, we hope to facilitate classroom exploration of Earth science across the nation while promoting the value and importance of IODP to society.


One innovation we are introducing is the more frequent and routine participation of ad hoc reviewers from the U.S. community for workshop, lecture series and pre-drilling activity proposals. Although USSSP has historically made considerable effort to expand the IODP drilling community in the process of soliciting and reviewing proposals, we believe that having more scientists directly participating in the USSSP review process will enhance this effort. We are also in the process of building a web-based portal for applicants and reviewers that will simplify and streamline the review process for all our support programs.


On the outreach front, we are partnering with the American Museum of Natural History to offer a set of programs that, over five years, will connect IODP research and researchers with an estimated 15,000 family visitors; 200 talented, science-interested students; and 500 science educators in New York City. This will occur in part through the Milstein Science Series, which includes specialized programs for youth and educator audiences, as well as through the Museum’s Student Research Mentoring and Ocean Science Youth Programs. These efforts will also advance our community’s longstanding goal to expose young, diverse audiences to Earth science in general and scientific ocean drilling in particular, and will hopefully increase the level of diversity of the IODP scientific community over time.


We also plan to expand awareness of IODP through the use of social media tools such as Reddit’s Ask Me Anything (AMA) series, which will allow the public to engage IODP scientists in direct Q&A sessions about expedition-specific objectives or other aspects of the program. AMAs not only allow the public to interact directly with scientists, but also provide professional training for scientists in communicating their work to the public.


With NSF’s support we intend to introduce additional innovations over the next five years to further our goal of providing the highest quality service to the U.S. drilling community while encouraging maximum “bottom-up” input from individual scientists and thematically-driven scientific groups. To this end, we always welcome your input and hope you’ll feel free to contact any of us with suggestions, feedback or recommendations. Each of us has spent decades working in the ocean drilling community and we feel privileged to assist the U.S. scientific community in fulfilling the objectives of the 2013-2023 IODP Science Plan.



Carl Brenner, Director and Principal Investigator

Dave Goldberg, Co-Investigator

Maureen Raymo, Co-Investigator