USAC Terms of Reference


The U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC) shall act on behalf of the U.S. scientific ocean drilling community to:

  • Formulate scientific and policy recommendations with respect to the U.S. Science Support Program (USSSP) associated with the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).
  • Assist USSSP in the development of the USSSP Program Plan that establishes long-term goals and objectives.
  • Assign priorities within the USSSP Program Plan to allocate resources to support U.S. participation in the IODP.
  • Evaluate USSSP accomplishments against program plan goals and objectives.
  • Interact with the international JOIDES Resolution Advisory Panels to promote and facilitate U.S. participation in all aspects of the IODP.
  • Stimulate and coordinate broad participation by the U.S. scientific community in the IODP.
  • Communicate to policy makers and the public the strategic importance of scientific ocean drilling to the nation’s overall science and education goals.

To promote effective contributions to and interaction with the IODP by the U.S. scientific community, USAC shall:

  • Assist USSSP in nominating U.S. scientists for participation on IODP expeditions, with an eye toward assembling scientific parties that can best pursue expedition objectives while promoting a balance of previous experience and opportunities for younger scientists.
  • Assist USSSP in evaluating nominations for U.S. members of the JOIDES Resolution Advisory Panels and members of the JOIDES Resolution Facility Board (JRFB).
  • Evaluate and nominate prospective USAC members for appointment by USSSP.

To foster an effective and productive USSSP, USAC shall:

  • Review and provide advice on the use of USSSP funds.
  • Recommend levels of salary support and post-expedition research funds for U.S. scientific party members.
  • Encourage and facilitate education and outreach efforts by U.S. participants in the IODP.
  • Encourage and support syntheses of scientific ocean drilling results at meetings and in publications.
  • Promote linkages between IODP and other large, national science programs (OOI, GeoPRISMS, etc.).

To promote effective U.S. planning for IODP activities, USAC shall:

  • Promote the development of U.S. proposals to the IODP.
  • Promote, support, and disseminate the results of workshops to explore and plan new initiatives and drilling programs.
  • Assist in identifying and promoting long-term, complex drilling projects that require integrative planning.
  • Promote and support the development of innovative drilling-related measurements and technologies.
  • Review the status of regional field studies and site surveys and their effectiveness in developing new drilling programs and sites.


USAC shall consist of around 12 members drawn from academic institutions, government, and industry. USSSP will appoint the members of the USAC based on recommendations from USAC.

The committee will generally act by consensus. If a vote is required, USAC shall act by majority vote of members present at any scheduled meeting, or by a majority electronic vote, provided all members are notified of the issue at hand. In the event of a tie, the vote of the chair will not be counted.