The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) is an international marine research collaboration that explores Earth's history and dynamics using ocean-going research platforms to recover data recorded in seafloor sediments and rocks and to monitor subseafloor environments. These are divided into 4 research themes; 1) climate and ocean changes, 2) deep life and environmental forcing of evolution, 3) deep processes and their impact on Earth’s surface environment, and 4) processes and geohazards on human time scales.
IODP depends on facilities funded by three platform providers with financial contributions from five additional partner agencies. Together, these entities represent twenty-three nations whose scientists are selected to staff IODP research expeditions conducted throughout the world's oceans. Scientist activities are managed by the IODP Program Member Offices.
The IODP Platform Providers have established Facility Boards to make or inform decisions on the effective use of the drilling facilities in fulfilling the objectives of the IODP Science Plan, including updates to the Expedition Schedule. Facility Boards generally meet annually. The facility boards are independent organizations for each platform (Chikyu IODP Board for Chikyu, JR Facility Board for JOIDES Resolution, and ECORD Facility Board for Mission Specific Platform), recommend suitable IODP drilling proposals, evaluates their operation, and encourage development of technologies and tools for drilling and scientific operation.
The Chikyu IODP Board (CIB) is the D/V Chikyu facility board, and is a consultative organization established by the JAMSTEC president to:
- Evaluate and approve Chikyu’s annual and long-term plan,
- Evaluate sample/data management, publication, outreach and technology development,
- Select IODP drilling proposals and recommend proposal workshop formation,
- Other tasks as needed.
CIB Members are comprised of 6 scientists representatives of the international science communitiy (3 Japanese and 3 foreign scientists), funding agency leaders and representatives from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Japan (MEXT), the US National Science Foundation (NSF), the ECORD Managing Agency (EMA), and the director general of CDEX.
CIB meetings are held annually, including CIB members and liaisons from IODP-related organizations (representatives of JRFB, EFB, platform operators, and IODP panels).
The IODP drilling proposal evaluation process
An IODP expedition begins from a pre-proposal submission from the science community. The IODP Science Evaluation Panel (SEP) assesses each proposal based on scientific significance, technical feasibility, impacts on the marine environment by drilling, and its’ connection with the IODP research themes. If favorable, the SEP recommends that the proponents develop the pre-proposal into a full proposal, and then passes on their recommendations to the IODP facility boards. A proposal finally becomes a project and IODP expedition when it is selected by a facility board. During the proposal evaluation process, the CIB looks at pre-proposals suited for Chikyu’s capabilities; if appropriate, the CIB establishes a Proposal Advisory Team to hold a workshop and to support creating a full proposal. The CIB selects and recommends appropriate proposals to the president of JAMSTEC as Chikyu IODP expeditions.
Chikyu IODP expedition project
The CIB establishes a Project Coordination Team (PCT) once the president of JAMSTEC decides to conduct the project. PCT members consist of several scientists, including the primary investigators, CDEX Drilling operation personnel, and CDEX science services. The PCT makes decisions on everything from expedition preparations, science needs, and everything to the end of the expedition. They maintain close communication to meet science objectives and realities, finalize drilling plan details, the shipboard measurement plan, staffing plan, and finally summarize everything into the CEX Drilling Plan and IODP Scientific Prospectus.