A Science Support Office for the International Ocean Discovery Program

Principal Investigator: 
Proposal Abstract: 

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California San Diego (UCSD) proposes to host a Science Support Office (SSO) in support of the new International Ocean Discovery Program organized around four Tasks. The overall management concept follows the key principle of continuity of critical services during the initial transition between the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (2003-2013) and the International Ocean Discovery Program (2013-2023), and,with stakeholder input, subsequent evolution of those services as appropriate for the new program. The Scripps SSO supports the planning and conduct of approximately 5 annual meetings of essential IODP advisory and governing boards, manages the proposal submission and community review process of externally funded drilling proposals for the multiple drilling platforms of IODP, maintains the proposal archive and statistics, manages the IODP Site Survey Data Bank (SSDB), and maintains and develops a centralized supporting website for the program.

The focus in Year 1 is on the transition of key services and products from the central management organization of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. In Years 2-5, services and products are evaluated and streamlined, moving toward a common technical infrastructure that incorporates multiple Support Office functions and simplifies the interface seen by the community. Multiple evaluation and assessment mechanisms are used to improve products and services.

Intellectual Merit :

The Science Support Office will advance knowledge by providing effective and well-managed critical services in the wider program structure of the new International Ocean Discovery Program, the fourth generation of NSF-funded scientific ocean drilling programs extending human inquiry to the ocean subseafloor. The Scripps SSO blends experience in program management of large community-based science programs and research facilities with intimate knowledge about the IODP science planning process, drilling proposal development, expedition leadership, university-based IODP-related research, and expertise in technical infrastructure, information services, and data management. The SSO minimizes disruption to the large international IODP community by incorporating key personnel with specific knowledge about existing  products and databases transitioning from the most recent ocean drilling program. The Site Survey Data Bank is incorporated into the overall SSO, maximizing the commonality of the technical layer and eliminating the need for the community to maintain multiple logins and learn multiple systems to submit and review proposals. Meeting facilitation emphasizes some regular venues and concise, synoptic records. Streamlined internal proposal handling procedures increase the availability of support staff to assist proponents and panelists. All services are provided in ways that are inherently familiar to the research community served by the SSO.

Broader Impacts :

A Science Support Office at Scripps Institution of Oceanography will embed an important component of the International Ocean Discovery Program management structure at a vibrant institution conducting multidisciplinary research in the marine/earth/atmospheric sciences and their application to society. The Scripps SSO takes advantage of the routine presence of IODP experts on campus to offer seminars and lectures, fostering graduate education and increasing interdisciplinary collaboration. Scripps has an immediate education and outreach facility for its programs in the Birch Aquarium, a popular public exploration center and tourist attraction, promoting the desired societal outcome of increased science literacy within a diverse population. As one of the oldest and best-known oceanographic institutions in the nation, Scripps is frequently visited by elected officials, leaders of national international research institutions, the business community, and other science and technology elite. This offers strategic opportunities to increase the visibility of IODP discoveries about the history and possible future of planet Earth with today’s thought leaders, bringing scientific knowledge to bear on public policy. With a total UCSD campus enrollment nearing 30,000 in nearly every discipline of study, UCSD provides a natural environment to increase understanding about the Earth within a large diverse student population facing 21st century challenges such as environmental change and scarcity of natural resources that must be addressed through informed collaborative discourse.

Start and End Date: 
July 2013 to September 2018