In September 2021, the National Science Foundation asked the U.S. Science Support Program for assistance in developing Science Mission Requirements, or SMRs, for a globally-ranging riserless U.S. drilling vessel to address high priority scientific objectives outlined in the 2050 Science Framework: Exploring Earth by Scientific Ocean Drilling. To provide this input, USSSP assembled a steering committee to oversee the canvassing of the U.S. community, the prioritization of objectives within the Framework, and the development of engineering, technical, and laboratory recommendations for a globally-ranging, riserless drilling and coring vessel. These recommendations can then be used by NSF should it enter into a Conceptual Design Process for such a vessel.

The SMR effort began with an online community survey, which was initiated on February 1, 2022. Responses were assessed by the steering committee, which then implemented several virtual forums to refine, discuss, and further prioritize the survey results. Finally, an in-person community workshop was held on May 17-18. A draft report of recommendations was posted online for review, comments, and suggestions in August 2022, and the final report was submitted to NSF in September.

Link to the SMR Survey Report

Link to the Final SMR Report to NSF

SMR Steering Committee

SMR Steering Committee

Brandon Dugan (Colorado School of Mines, co-chair)
Rebecca Robinson (University of Rhode Island, co-chair)
Stephanie Carr (Hartwick College)
Tim Collett (U.S. Geological Survey)
Justin Dodd (Northern Illinois University)
Patricia Fryer (University of Hawaii)
Patrick Fulton (Cornell University)
Sean Gulick (University of Texas Austin)
Hiroko Kitajima (Texas A&M University)
Anthony Koppers (Oregon State University)
Jay Miller (retired, JOIDES Resolution Science Operator)
Yair Rosenthal (Rutgers University)
Masako Tominaga (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Marta Torres (Oregon State University)
Julia Wellner (University of Houston)
Larry Krissek (Ohio State University, ex-officio)

Science Mission Requirements Survey

The survey opened on February 1, 2022. All survey responses provided by April 1 were used to guide the virtual forums and in-person workshop. Completion of the survey served as one part of the application for attending the in-person workshop.


Virtual Workshops

The virtual workshops provided community members with the opportunity to address high priority issues identified by the steering committee in response to the survey results, and/or to contribute additional thoughts if they would not be attending the in-person workshop. Throughout the virtual workshop period, the steering committee continued to aggregate community input from the survey and these online meetings, and hone the agenda for the in-person workshop.

SMR In-Person Workshop

The in-person Science Mission Requirements (SMR) Workshop took place on May 17-18, 2022 at the Allegro Royal Sonesta Hotel in Chicago, IL. The workshop built on information gathered by thecommunity SMR surveyand discussions held during the series of four topically-focusedvirtual workshopsdescribed above. Production of the SMR workshop report is underway.

Questions? Inquiries about the workshop can be sent to the steering committee co-chairs:

Brandon Dugan, Colorado School of Mines (

Rebecca Robinson, University of Rhode Island (