Management and Operations of the JOIDES Resolution as a Facility for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) Grant uri icon


  • The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) serves to advance basic research in the marine geosciences and is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and more than 26 other international partners. IODP builds on a legacy of scientific ocean drilling exemplified by the Deep Sea Drilling Project (1969-1983), the Ocean Drilling Program (1985-2003), and the multi-drilling platform Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (2003-2013).Ocean drilling is used to examine processes ranging from changes in the Earth's climate to the rifting and drifting of continents. Drilling is the primary tool for sampling sediment and crustal rock from the 70 percent of the Earth?s surface covered by oceans, and is the only technique for sampling anything more than a few meters deeper than the ocean floor. The new IODP commenced October 1, 2013, utilizing the new science plan Illuminating Earth?s Past, Present, and Future ( based on planning by over 600 international scientists. The plan identifies four themes for initial emphasis in the new IODP:1) Climate and Ocean Change: Reading the Past, Informing the Future2) Biosphere frontiers: Deep Life, Biodiversity, and Environmental Forcing of Ecosystems3) Earth Connections: Deep Processes and Their Impact on Earth?s Surface Environment4) Earth in Motion: Processes and Hazards on Human Time ScalesScientific accomplishments in the previous ocean drilling programs and the potential for future scientific discoveries envisioned in this new Science Plan were reviewed in the National Research Council report Scientific Ocean Drilling: Accomplishments and Challenges (2011) ( The NRC found that "Each of the four themes within the Science Plan identifies compelling challenges with potential transformative science that can only be addressed by scientific ocean drilling." The report noted the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program's scope and method of research as an example of best practices in international scientific cooperation.The refit of the JOIDES Resolution through the MREFC account in 2006-2009 greatly improved the drilling capabilities of the vessel, with a number of new drilling depth records subsequently set and substantial improvement in core recovery and quality. The depth to which the drillship can obtain high-resolution climate records in core has doubled, expanding the ability to examine Earth's climate history in detail. The scientific capabilities have also been enhanced, with addition of a new microbiology lab, a new data management infrastructure with significant cyber-infrastructure upgrades, a 25% increase in core processing area and berths, and new or enhanced scientific analytical instruments in every shipboard laboratory. Vessel and drill rig reliability have proven robust, with virtually 100% facility availability during operations.The JOIDES Resolution, Chikyu, and Mission-Specific Platform (MSP) drilling platforms will continue to be provided to IODP by NSF, Japan, and the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, respectively. The new science plan draws upon lessons from previous programs to build a streamlined multi-platform international program based on cooperation rather than integration. IODP planning for JOIDES Resolution operations is conducted under a Facilities Board, and management and funding for JOIDES Resolution operations will occur independently of the other IODP drilling platforms. The JOIDES Resolution Facilities Board (JR FB) is led by a member of the science community and made up of scientists and governmental representatives of nations contributing to JOIDES Resolution operations, as well as representatives of the JOIDES Resolution science operator. The Facilities Board is advised by the Science Evaluation and Environmental Protection and Safety Panels. The JR FB and its advisory panels will be utilized for proposal review by other science operators in IODP, and are supported by a new IODP Science Support Office under a Cooperative Agreement to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.This Cooperative Agreement (CA) provides financial support for Operations Management of the Drilling Vessel JOIDES Resolution for the International Ocean Discovery Program to the Texas A&M Research Foundation, and is intended to cover an initial five year period beginning on July 1, 2014. A CA is being used because of 1) the increased level of involvement NSF expects to have with the Awardee and its principal subawardees and subcontractors in managing facility operations in a tightly constrained budgetary environment; 2) the wish to move facility management to the standard NSF model; and 3) the principal relationship between NSF and the Awardee is to carry out a public purpose, rather than acquiring property or services for the direct benefit of the Government.The JOIDES Resolution will operate under a leasing subcontract between the Texas A&M Research Foundation and Overseas Drilling, Limited (ODL), the vessel owner. ODL is owned entirely by Siem Offshore, incorporated in the Cayman Islands. For FY2015, this subcontract has provisions for 8 one-year extensions by the science operator, requiring only 6 months of advance notice to renew for another year. The day rate during these yearly extensions is fixed, increasing only by a balance of the Consumer Price Index- All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and the Employment Cost Index (ECI) indexed to June 1, 2005, as determined by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This contract structure and low indexed day rate ($60,950/day as of June 1, 2005, when commercial drill ships are currently about $300,000- $700,000/day) substantially reduces financial risk to NSF, and allows for yearly opportunities to terminate the drilling subcontract at low cost.Technical and budgetary risks to NSF will be further reduced by (1) using a proven facility under an existing drilli

date/time interval

  • 2014 - 2024