Letter from the USAC Chair

May, 2009

Dear Colleagues,

Earlier this month I had the privilege of touring the refitted JOIDES Resolution. Having followed the progress and challenges of the work in the shipyard from afar, I was especially impressed to see how much the ship has been improved. Everyone involved with the SODV conversion project – at NSF, at the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and especially at IODP-TAMU – deserve to be congratulated on this major accomplishment.

Many of us in the scientific ocean drilling community perhaps take for granted the amazing technical accomplishment of consistently retrieving samples from thousands of meters below the ocean surface for us to study in a floating laboratory. While some work remains to be done in improving the JOIDES Resolution, I echo Peggy Delaney’s sentiment that three of the sweetest words to the ears of our community are “core on deck!” Congratulations again to everyone who worked so hard to make the conversion of the JOIDES Resolution possible.

In other good news, the U.S. Science Support Program has obtained funding to support additional U.S. scientists to attend the INVEST meeting in Bremen this September. If you missed the first application period for travel support, or if you know of someone whose expertise and input would enhance the INVEST proceedings, please take advantage of this extended opportunity to apply for travel support. Applications will be accepted until June 30.

As the science community works to set the priorities for scientific ocean drilling beyond 2013, representatives of the funding agencies of the IODP member countries and consortia will have their first meeting this June to discuss how to structure and support the new drilling program. This group, known as the International Working Group Plus (IWG+), plans to inform the science community about the results of their discussions on program budget and management architecture prior to the INVEST meeting. This information will allow the science community to prioritize its scientific goals within the bounds of anticipated funding levels and set ambitious yet realistic goals for the new program.

The next few months will bring much excitement to our community and greatly affect the future of scientific ocean drilling. I encourage you to get involved and help set the course for the new phase of drilling beyond 2013.

Brad Clement
USAC Chair