Letter from the USAC Chair
As you know, due to nearly flat-funding of NSF combined with the rising cost of oil, NSF funding of IODP is less than we had hoped for and the refit of the JOIDES Resolution is taking longer than expected (see recent Update: IODP). Despite these difficulties, it is important for us to remember that NSF is still supporting IODP at a very high level and to focus on the fact that the program continues to produce groundbreaking research. However, to warrant continued and hopefully increased support in the future, it is our job to ensure that colleagues and decision makers know the results of this exciting research.
To help you communicate your discoveries and engage your colleagues, the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC) has assembled a set of resources that includes white papers, sample slides, and suggestions on how to raise awareness about IODP. Realizing that our community has diverse talents, skills, interests, and resources, we have tried to provide different approaches that you could take. Please visit the new Web pages to find these suggestions on how you can participate.
Our actions can truly impact the future of U.S. scientific ocean drilling. As geoscience educators and scientists, we, as individuals and as a community, are responsible for sharing our scientific discoveries with the public and decision makers who control and define future directions of scientific research in our educational institutions and for our nation. Each of us needs to do our part to advocate for a healthy drilling program.
USAC has been receiving regular updates over the last year from the Consortium for Ocean Leadership regarding adjustments and decisions that are being made to handle the less-than-expected funding levels. We are very lucky to have such qualified, creative and dedicated leaders of the USIO, USSSP, and SODV project who are working extremely hard on behalf of the U.S. science drilling community. I think you can imagine that their jobs are very challenging right now because of the budget constraints, and they are fervently exploring ways to fill in the funding gap.
Finally, I want to mention that there are exciting activities and expeditions coming up: a workshop on the Arctic Ocean this November; an upcoming deadline to request that a Distinguished Lecturer speak at your institution; and a call for staffing of NanTroSEIZE Stage 1b.
As always, on behalf of USAC, I welcome your feedback and comments.