Future of IODP

Planning for a post-2023 Science Plan

In 2011, the international scientific ocean drilling community released Illuminating Earth’s Past, Present, and Future, the Science Plan for the International Ocean Discovery Program (2013-2023). This science plan has been the basis for ocean drilling research expeditions in line with IODP’s principles of scientific investigation.  

Discussions about the possibility of a new science plan for the post-2023 era are now underway. Four international planning workshops were held in April and May 2019 in Australia, Japan, Europe, and the United States to capture the opinions of the science communities based in those regions; each workshop included international participants to provide cross-cutting views. These workshops were intended to assess the continuing relevance of the 2013-2023 science plan and, in light of expedition outcomes since 2013, explore whether changes were warranted. The outcomes of those planning workshops, representing the opinions of hundreds of active researchers, are now available

In July 2019, eighteen international delegates forming the Science Plan Working Group met to produce a draft Science Plan Structure and Road Map document highlighting the commonalities in the workshop outcomes and indicating a potential way forward towards a post-2023 science framework. The draft was improved by comments from the community and the revised Science Framework Structure and Road Map Document, entitled Exploring Earth by Scientific Ocean Drilling, was endorsed by the IODP Forum at its August 2019 meeting in Osaka, Japan. Key features are: 

  1. A strong emphasis on interdisciplinary science at the crosslinks between science themes;
  2. Enabling the next generation in scientific ocean drilling through a science plan that extends to 2050;
  3. Eight open-ended strategic objectives that form the core of the science plan;
  4. Five long-term, interdisciplinary flagship initiatives that address critical societal challenges;
  5. Five-year programmatic reviews that allow intermediate adjustments or additions.

Following discussion at the 2019 IODP Forum, a writing team is being assembled to develop the content of the post-2023 Science Framework with a target date for the first draft of January 2020. An additional group of 21 external reviewers will team up with the writers to provide feedback on specific chapters. A draft post-2023 Science Framework will be available in January 2020, with a revision planned for March 2020. The final version of the new Science Framework is planned to be available in June 2020.