The U.S. Science Support Program sponsors Pre-Drilling Activities to provide funds in quick response to an opportunity to acquire data or information that will enhance a drilling expedition. Priority is given to projects that support expeditions already on the ship’s schedule. The definition of this activity is deliberately flexible to allow consideration of exceptional or unusual requests for drill site data enhancement.

Some categories of Pre-Drilling Activities are:

  • Use of ships of opportunity to collect site-specific data that will significantly enhance the scientific yield of a planned IODP expedition;
  • U.S.-based scientist participation in non-U.S. shipboard programs that are in direct support of IODP drilling objectives;
  • Mini-workshops or focused planning groups that bring together scientists to integrate site-specific or regional data into a mature drilling proposal;
  • Non-routine downhole measurements or innovative experiments that increase the overall scientific return from an IODP expedition;
  • Assembling data sets or reprocessing existing data sets (e.g., from site surveys) for sites in regions of interest to IODP.


Proposals must be submitted by researchers affiliated with a U.S. institution. Pre-drilling proposals may be submitted at any time and will be considered as soon as they are received via a process established by the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC). Approximate time between proposal receipt and funding notification is 2-3 months. The proponent must justify how the proposed activity will enhance a drilling expedition or support scientific ocean drilling objectives.

Submit a Pre-Drilling Activity Proposal


Please review the following list of required materials, then go to the USSSP Application Portal to submit a proposal.

1.  Pre-Drilling Activity Proposal Cover Sheet: A completed cover sheet is required for proposal submission, including signatures from the principal investigator and an authorized institutional representative.The cover sheet can be downloaded here or from the USSSP Application Portal and filled in offline; then, the completed, signed document can be uploaded during the online submission process.

2.  Application: A one-page online form requesting basic contact information for the lead proponent or principal investigator on the proposal.

3.  Pre-Drilling Activity Proposal: The proposal contents must not exceed 10 pages (including references) and must include:

a.  Scientific Motivation: The proposal must describe the scientific motivation for the pre-drilling activity and explain how the expected outcome will contribute to scientific ocean drilling goals, including relevance to the future of scientific ocean drilling (e.g., with reference to the 2050 Science Framework). It should also include relevant information about a related IODP expedition or proposal, or supplementary information such as a Letter of Invitation if the proposal is for shipboard support.

b.  Budget and Budget Justification: The proposal should include both a budget summary (table) and budget justification (description). These documents serve to explain and justify the budget (including institutional overhead, where appropriate). We encourage small and cost-efficient budgets. If the budget includes travel, it must be consistent with USSSP Travel Policy.  For maximum cost benefit, travel arrangements should be made by the USSSP Office and costs paid directly by USSSP.

c.  Summary of other relevant current support and results of prior USSSP-funded research activities (e.g., site augmentation, drilling leg/cruise/expedition, workshops), including references.

4.  Curriculum Vitae: Two-page CV, for the proponent or primary investigator listed on the cover sheet.

5.  Demographic Information Form: This is a required online form. Information may be shared with reviewers. If you do not wish to fill out any of the information (excluding your name), please check the appropriate box.

6.  Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement

7.  Supporting Letters (Optional): Letter(s) of support or intent from collaborators, co-funders, host facilities/labs (for example) may be included, but are not required.

Final Reporting Requirements

A final report summarizing the results of the funded activity is required to be submitted electronically as a PDF to USSSP within three months following the end of the period of performance. The report must contain an executive summary, a description of work done, a comparison of the achievements against the original proposal goals, and recommendations, if any, resulting from the work.

If the activity involved the collection or reworking of site survey data, resulting data must be submitted in the proper format to the IODP Site Survey Data Bank run by the Geological Data Center at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and, as appropriate, to the National Centers for Environmental Information (formerly the NGDC) at NOAA.


Proponents are encouraged to discuss their ideas with the U.S. Science Support Program. Contact

Funded Pre-Drilling Activities

Pre-drilling awards have supported expedition-related activities such as collecting site survey data, testing new technology, and participating in workshops and meetings. View past funded activities here.