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Division of Ocean Sciences

Operations and Management of the Drilling Vessel JOIDES Resolution for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP)

Name Email Phone Room
James  F. Allan 703-292-8144  725  


Solicitation  12-612

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A revised version of the NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide (PAPPG) (NSF 18-1), is effective for proposals submitted, or due, on or after January 29, 2018. Please be advised that, depending on the specified due date, the guidelines contained in NSF 18-1 may apply to proposals submitted in response to this funding opportunity.




The International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) will serve to advance basic research in the marine geosciences and will be supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and several international partners.  IODP builds on a rich legacy of scientific ocean drilling pioneered by NSF in the 1960's with the Deep Sea Drilling Project, which provided a test of the plate tectonic hypothesis and a basic reconnaissance of deep sea sediments and crustal rocks.   This was followed in 1985 by the Ocean Drilling Program, which focused on examination of Earth, ocean and climate processes. The current Integrated Ocean Drilling Program commenced in 2003 and has served as an expanded program of scientific ocean drilling based on "Earth, Oceans and Life: Scientific Investigations of the Earth System Using Multiple Drilling Platforms and new Technologies; Integrated Ocean Drilling Program Initial Science Plan, 2003 - 2013" ( ).  IODP, anticipated to commence October 1, 2014 with the science plan available at, builds upon lessons learned in the previous programs and will involve a multi-platform international program based on cooperation rather than integration. IODP planning for JOIDES Resolution operations will be conducted under a Facilities Governing Board rather than an integrated Science Advisory Structure, and management and funding for JOIDES Resolution operations will occur independently of the other IODP drilling platforms.

The NSF acquired and converted a drilling vessel with enhanced scientific research capabilities as the U.S. operational contribution to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program.  This activity was successfully completed in 2009.  The converted vessel, along with additional support elements directly provided by NSF to the science community, has fostered continuing U.S. leadership in scientific ocean drilling as well as increased participation of the broader international geoscience community.  Independent reviews of both the current Integrated Ocean Drilling Program performance and the new Science Plan, titled Illuminating Earth's Past, Present, and Future: The International Ocean Discovery Program Science Plan for 2013-2023, have been highly favorable.  The plan provides a strong scientific rationale for the continuation of scientific ocean drilling. 

This solicitation seeks the services of a qualified organization, through a Cooperative Agreement, to provide technical and scientific management and operation of the JOIDES Resolution drilling vessel in support of the IODP Science Plan.  The JOIDES Resolution is currently operated under the IODP System Integration Contract to the Consortium for Oceanographic Research. As the prime subcontractor, Texas A&M University is the current JOIDES Resolution science operator, with the vessel procured through long-term lease from owner Overseas Drilling, Limited under a contract with the Texas A&M University Research Foundation. This long-term lease contains provisions for one-year extensions through September 30, 2023 and is re-assignable to a new operator pending approval by the vessel owner. The initial period of the award is intended to cover a five year period beginning on October 1, 2014.  A comprehensive Management Review will be conducted after the three initial years of operation, and the results will guide a decision to re-compete or renew the Cooperative Agreement, with renewal contingent on submission of a meritorious proposal.

What Has Been Funded (Recent Awards Made Through This Program, with Abstracts)

Map of Recent Awards Made Through This Program