Future Opportunities for Australia in international scientific drilling

After 50+ and 25+ years respectively, both the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and the International Continental Drilling Program (ICDP) continue to facilitate new and significant discoveries in our understanding of the Earth’s lithosphere, biosphere, cryosphere and atmosphere through scientific drilling. 

While the current phase of IODP ends in 2024, the future of scientific drilling looks bright. The high level of community interest is reflected in the large number of proposals under consideration in all the world’s oceans. Existing US and Japanese scientific drilling vessels that underpin IODP’s success are aging but remain fully capable. Europe and Japan are working to implement an expanded Mission Specific Platform approach to scientific drilling that allows coring in regions unreachable by larger vessels (e.g. ice-covered oceans and through the land-to-sea transition zone). Meanwhile, new ocean drilling vessels are coming online in China and are in the early stages of planning in the United States. This broad range of offshore drilling capabilities complements the infrastructure supported by ICDP to drill in a range of terrestrial and near-shore environments, including lakes.

To ensure that Australian researchers retain the opportunity to continue their historically significant contributions to scientific drilling around the world, the Australian and New Zealand IODP Consortium (ANZIC) is currently working with AuScope to secure longer-term access to this international research infrastructure under the Australian Government’s National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy. This initiative is being designed to not only maintain Australian involvement in global scientific drilling initiatives, but to expand opportunities to access subsurface samples across the Australian continent, the coastal transition zone, our extensive continental shelf and out into the deep abyssal plains. 


University of New South Wales9 February
University of Sydney10 February
Geoscience Australia15 February
University of Western Australia22 February
Curtin University23 February
University of Tasmania28 February
2:30pm workshop – IMAS Flex Space
3:30pm seminar – IMAS Aurora Lecture Theatre
University of Wollongong3 March
2:30 pm workshop & seminar
Map Library, Building 41, Room G03.A
Macquarie University6 March
12:00pm workshop, 12:30pm seminar
Level 8 Meeting Rooms, 12 Wally Walk
University of Melbourne7 March
10:00am workshop – Teaching Room Skeats 208
11:00am seminar – SGEAS Colloquia, Fritz Loewe Theatre
McCoy Building
Monash University
8 March
9:00am workshop – Room G09 (Ground Floor)
10:00am seminar – Room 107 (First Floor)
School of Earth Atmosphere & Environment
University of Adelaide9 March
3:15pm workshop, 4:00pm seminar
Mawson Lecture Theatre
Queensland University of Technology13 March
Venue TBC
University of Queensland14 March
Venue TBC
Australian National University23 March
4:00pm seminar
Jaeger 1 Seminar Room, ANU Research School of Earth Sciences

WORKSHOP: Exploring planetary processes with IODP science
(in-person only)

Come traverse time to reveal the two hundred million years of Earth’s climatic, biological, chemical and geological history that is locked in sediment, rock and fluid beneath the world ocean. 

In this workshop, you will explore how scientific ocean drilling provides access to this archive, which allows the international scientific community to examine the interconnected processes between the solid Earth, ocean, life, climate, and society. We will touch on a few of the important research frontiers and opportunities within the program.

The 40-min workshop will:

  • showcase IODP science with multiple workstations aimed at the interpretation and application of core samples and data
  • explore the relevance and unique insights of IODP data for a range of fields to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations. For example: geophysics, paleoclimatology, sedimentology, palaeontology, hydrogeology, deep biosphere, geochemistry, tectonics, climate-ocean-cryosphere, big data analytics, etc
  • guide multidisciplinary international research and collaboration on scientific ocean drilling data
  • introduce opportunities for scientists and students to support their research, skills and communications  

ANZIC presenter biographies

Ron Hackney commenced at the Australian National University as the Director of ANZIC in mid-2022. He previously spent 14 years at Geoscience Australia working in and leading a range of national precompetitive geoscience projects. This followed a six-year stint in Germany as a postdoc at Freie Universität Berlin and as Junior Professor for Solid Earth Geophysics at the Christian Albrechts Universität zu Kiel. Ron has a PhD from the University of Western Australia, an MSc in Geophysics from Victoria University of Wellington and a BSC (Honours) from the Australian National University.

Sarah Kachovich commenced at the Australian National University as the ANZIC Program Manager in late-2021 and was announced as Superstar of STEM (2023-2024) by Science and Technology Australia. Previously, she spent 3 years sailing as a Marine Technician onboard the IODP Research Vessel, the JOIDES Resolution for Texas A & M University. Sarah has PhD in radiolarian micropaleontology from the University of Queensland where she also sailed as the Radiolarist onboard the IODP Expedition 362: Sumatra Subduction, in 2016. She completed a BSC (Honours) from the University of Wollongong.

Who should attend?

A major goal of the Australian and New Zealand IODP Consortium (ANZIC) is to train the next generation of scientists and promote IODP-motivated science. The workshop is open to participants from all career stages and scientific backgrounds. However, the course is tailored for individuals who:

  • are early in their career and/or would like to introduce and make use of IODP data in their research, and/or;
  • would like to get more involved in IODP in some capacity, either through accessing and using data, sailing on an IODP research expedition, or joining the ANZIC Science Committee.

If you have previously been involved with IODP or ANZIC, we also welcome your involvement in the workshop to share your experience and expertise with anyone new wishing to get involved.

For more information, contact sarah.kachovich@anu.edu.au