Late in 2012 ANZIC’s Governing Council commissioned The Allen Consulting Group to conduct an exhaustive review of all aspects of Australia’s participation in IODP over the term of the program (2008-2013).
Key Conclusions of the Review
The key conclusions of the review are that the benefits to Australia of direct
membership of the IODP consortium far exceed the modest costs of participation.
Moreover it would be detrimental to Australia’s interests not to be a member of the
next phase of scientific ocean drilling. Participation in this next phase is well
aligned with current government policy as articulated in the 2012 National Science
Investment Plan, the aspirations of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper
and Australia’s policy of fostering international scientific collaborations.
Based on the expected benefits and costs of membership of the International Ocean
Discovery Program (2013-2023), there is a strong case for Australia to become a
member of all three ocean drilling consortia (US, Japan and Europe). At this time,
the ARC LIEF program remains an appropriate source of funding and the
Australian IODP consortium funding bid should emphasise the productivity,
quality, multi-disciplinary nature and end uses of scientific ocean drilling. It should
ideally include greater leverage from contributing institutions and a currency
movement strategy. It would be sensible for Australia to continue to work closely in
partnership with New Zealand counterparts.
Looking further forward, the Australian consortium should continue to ensure that
maximum benefits flow to Australia from membership of the International Ocean
Discovery Program, including to potential government and industry end users. It
will be important that relevant data and information on the inputs, outputs and
outcomes, including end-use, of Australia’s membership be recorded on a
systematic basis to facilitate monitoring of performance and future evaluations.
There are advantages in the Australian IODP office continuing to be hosted by the
ANU and for appropriate resourcing and succession planning to be put in place to
ensure continuity and maintenance of corporate memory.
In addition, a more sophisticated communications campaign should be developed
and implemented by the Consortium to ensure there is a broader understanding of
the benefits of scientific ocean drilling among relevant Ministers, Departments,
parliamentarians and science journalists.
Finally, it would be prudent for representations to be made to the Australian
Government to have funding of membership of such an important international
collaboration placed on a more sustainable and long-term basis beyond the LIEF