November 2019

Dear Friends of IODP,

Starting October 1st this year, and for the next 2 years, I will be your USAC chair. I welcome the opportunity to serve a scientific program in which I have spent a large part of my career and I have long valued for its extraordinary breadth, vision, and success in fulfilling the scientific ambitions of the international community.

We are now at an important inflection point as we prepare for the next phase of scientific ocean drilling. A tremendous amount of effort has been invested by the community at large to generate a long-term vision for the program beyond 2023. Many of you, as well as our colleagues from other partner member organizations, have been involved in developing a new document, the “Science Framework and Roadmap for Scientific Ocean Drilling,” the basic structure of which was approved during the September IODP Forum meeting in Osaka.

The energy, enthusiasm, and support of the community at large for this new phase of ocean drilling has been amazing, and I want to thank everyone involved, including the participants at the NEXT workshop earlier this year, the members of the workshop’s steering committee, the Science Framework Working Group and the framework’s writing team. The new science framework, roadmap, and writing team will be presented at the upcoming AGU Town Hall meeting in San Francisco (see details at the end of this letter). I encourage all of you to attend.

The document will formulate a broad and highly integrated science framework for the next 25 years that will guide proposal submissions until 2050. The framework is visionary and broad, and addresses critical societal challenges. To evaluate progress towards achieving scientific goals, and to incorporate new ideas as science moves forward, programmatic reviews will be conducted every 5 years. The document is now under development by a team of writers and reviewers under the leadership of Anthony Koppers (US) and Rosalind Coggon (UK). There will be opportunities for the scientific community to provide online input to the first (January 2020) and second drafts (March 2020) of the document. I urge you to take advantage of these opportunities and provide feedback to the teams involved in generating this important document.

I also want to note that it has been extremely inspiring to see the involvement of the upcoming generation of geoscientists who have taken an ever-growing ownership of the program. I applaud the leaders of the first and second workshops on “Demystifying the IODP Proposal Process for Early Career Scientists,” an effort conceived and run by early career researchers for early career researchers. The participation of the next generation at sea, in generating new and exciting science, as panel members, and as contributors of new ideas for scientific drilling, provide a foundation for a healthy and vibrant program well into mid-century. I encourage all the early career investigators out there to become involved.

As we are all getting ready for our AGU presentations, many of which are based on IODP science, let’s renew our commitment to keep the program healthy and vibrant. It is, after all, our program. Scientific ocean drilling is at an inflection point, but at this moment the forecast is extremely positive, with renewed involvement, energy, and enthusiasm in support of the fundamental premises that underlie the ocean drilling vision. It is important to keep the momentum going, continue submitting drilling proposals, and maintain the output of first-class science based on drilling data. Ocean drilling has been, and will continue to be, a fantastic program because it is a truly community-based collaborative effort aimed at unraveling the most fundamental challenges of Earth’s interconnected systems.

See you at AGU,

Marta Torres
Chair, U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling

2019 AGU Town Hall:
“On the Current and a Future Scientific Ocean Drilling Program”
Wednesday, December 11, 2019, 7 p.m. (Reception to follow)
JW Marriott Union Square
Metropolitan Ballroom
515 Mason Street
San Francisco CA 94102