Letter from the USAC Chair
Please help shape the future of scientific ocean drilling by providing input on the draft science plan. I have just returned from the IODP Science Planning Committee meeting and an IODP symposium associated with the International Conference on Paleoceanography. The draft science plan dominated formal and informal discussions at both meetings. These types of conversations are critical for the future of the program, and I encourage you to initiate similar discussions in your departments and at upcoming meetings.
IODP is accepting comments on the draft science plan until September 21, 2010 (http://campanian.iodp.org/NewSciencePlan/). The new science plan must make a clear and convincing case for the next decade of scientific ocean drilling. This requires showing new and innovative science that can only be achieved through drilling. The writing committee has distilled the many ideas from INVEST into the draft science plan. Now it needs constructive review from the community. I urge you to carefully evaluate the sections closest to your specialty, and also consider how the science plan as a whole would appear to a non-specialist. For example: What parts of the science plan do you find most compelling and innovative? Which research questions are missing, and which are described in too much detail? Which areas should be highlighted more? If this were not your field, would you feel that the entire scientific community should support the program as described?
It has been heartening to hear about the scientific and technological advances in the current program, but being successful does not guarantee a future program. With your input, the new science plan can convey the importance of maximizing our capabilities to sample and observe the vast sub-seafloor environment.
Liz Screaton, USAC Chair