ECORD, the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, is a management structure of 17 members (15 European countries, Canada and Israel) for scientific ocean drilling as part of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) “Exploring the Earth under the sea” and previously the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program – IODP from 2003 to 2013.
The science in IODP involves a wide range of fundamental and applied issues for society, such as climate and ocean change, biodiversity and origin of life, the Earth in motion including the study of earthquakes processes, and the Earth structure and dynamics in relation with its surface environment.
>> IODP Science Plan for 2013-2023 “Illuminating Earth’s Past, Present and Future”.
Three Platform Providers conduct IODP expeditions: the U.S.A. and Japan operate deep-sea drillships, JOIDES Resolution and Chikyu respectively. ECORD is responsible for funding and implementing mission-specific platform (MSP) expeditions. To date, seven IODP MSP expeditions – Arctic Coring-ACEX (2004), Tahiti Sea Level (2005), New Jersey Shallow Shelf (2009), Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes (2010), Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment (2013), Atlantis Massif Serpentinization and Life (2015) and Chicxulub K-Pg Impact Crater (2016) – have been carried out in areas inaccessible to the JOIDES Resolution and Chikyu.
As part of the International Ocean Discovery Program, ECORD focuses on:
- ECORD membership: the ECORD Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed by all ECORD members;
- Delivering an average of one MSP expedition per year;
- Signing the ECORD-NSF MoU, which defines the ECORD financial contribution to the JOIDES Resolution and the number of ECORD scientists to sail on each JR expedition;
- Signing the ECORD-JAMSTEC MoU, which defines the ECORD financial contribution to the funding of the Chikyu and the number of ECORD scientists to sail on each Chikyu expedition;
- Establishing a European Infrastructure based on the DEISM and DEDI pre-proposals submitted to the European Commission;
- Defining In-Kind Contributions for mission-specific platform expeditions.
The following organisations/countries are the funding agencies of ECORD and have been elected to be members of ECORD. Membership is defined by a Memorandum of Understanding between each member country and ECORD. Each member of ECORD is represented by one delegate sitting on the ECORD Council.
Österreichische Academie der Wissenschaften (ÖAW)
Postgasse 7-9/ Erdgeschoss, 1010 Wien, Austria
Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Vlaanderen (FWO)
Egmontstraat 5, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
350 Albert Street, 16th Floor, Ottawa, ON K1A 1H5, Canada
The Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation – Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education (FIVU)
Bredgade 40, 1260 Copenhagen K, Denmark
Academy of Finland
Hakaniemenrenta 6, PO Box 131, 005031 Helsinki, Finland
Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers-Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (INSU-CNRS)
3 rue Michel Ange, BP 287, 75766 Paris CEDEX 16, France
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Kennedyallee 40, 53175 Bonn, Germany
Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI)
Beggars Bush, Haddington Rd, Dublin 4, Ireland
Mediterranean Sea Research Center of Israel (MERCI)
Unversity of Haifa, Mt Carmel, 31905, Haifa, Israel
Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
Laan van Nieuw Oost Indië 300, 2593 CE Den Haag, The Netherlands
Research Council of Norway (Forskningsradet)
PO Box 2700, St Hanshaugen, 0131 Oslo, Norway
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)
Av. D. Carlos I, 126, 1249-074 Lisboa, Portugal
Ministerio de Economia y Competitividad (MINECO)
Secretaria de Estado, Investigacion, Desarollo y Innovacion, C/ Alabacete, 5-7a Oeste, 28027 Madrid, Spain
Swedish Research Council (VR)
Västra Järnvägsgatan 3, Box 1035, 10138 Stockholm, Sweden
Fonds National Suisse de la Recherche Scientifique (FNS)
Wildhainweg 3, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
The United Kingdom
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1EU, UK
Making ECORD an effective part of International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) has meant a new organisation was created to undertake all ECORD activities. ECORD’s role is to coordinate European, Canadian and Israeli participation in IODP and to extend the scientific capability of the programme by providing support for mission-specific platform (MSP) operations.
As defined in the ECORD MoU, ECORD is structured into 5 entities, 2 Task Forces and 1 Ad-hoc Committee:
- ECORD Council
- ECORD Facility Board (EFB), the key planning forum for MSP operations, was initiated in Fall 2012. It is composed of a Science Board (6 leading scientists), the Executive Bureau (Executive Council Members, EMA Director and Chairs of ESO, ESSAC and ECORD-ILP), and representatives of ESO and IODP entities.
- ECORD Managing Agency (EMA)
- ECORD Science Operator (ESO)
- ECORD Science and Support Advisory Committee (ESSAC)
- Outreach & Education Task Force (E-OETF) coordinates ECORD communication (public information, media and press) and education. The TF is composed of the ECORD Outreach Team, the EMA Director and Assistant Director and the ESSAC Chair.
- Vision Task Force (VTF) identifies strategic developments (new members, funding, etc.) and monitors ECORD science and techology progresses. The VTF is composed of the ESSAC Chair as TF Chair, EMA Director and Assistant Director, ESO Chair and Outreach Manager and ECORD ILP Chair.
- ECORD Industry Liaison Panel (ECORD ILP)
The IODP Science Plan for 2013-2023 “Illuminating Earth’s Past, Present and Future”, published in June 2011, addresses high scientific priorities and societal relevance within four themes:
- Climate and ocean change – Reading the past and informing the future
- Biosphere frontiers – Deep life, biodiversity and environmental forcing of ecosytems
- Earth connections – Deep processes and their impacts on Earth’s surface environment
- Earth in motion – Processes and hazards on human time scales
The architecture of the programme is composed of the following entities:
- IODP Forum is the overarching umbrella of the programme
- Science Support Office assists the IODP boards and panels, manages the submission/review system for IODP proposals along with the Site Survey Data Bank and the IODP website
- 2 IODP advisory panels / 3 Facility Boards for evaluation of the IODP proposals and programming/scheduling of expeditions for all IODP platforms
- 3 Platform Providers operate IODP expeditions and are incharge with related data management, core curation, publications, engineering development and education and outreach. Each Platform Provider will rely on its own Facility Board to schedule their platforms (JOIDES Resolution, Chikyu and MSPs) based on the proposals forwarded by the IODP advisory panels.
Annual funding is provided by:
- USA: National Science Foundation (NSF) and JOIDES Resolution’s partners who are:
- ECORD (17 member countries) via EMA
- Japan: Ministry of Culture, Education, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and Chikyu‘s partners who are
- Australian-New Zeland IODP Consortium (ANZIC)
Earth Science Europe (ESE)
Since 2012, ECORD participates in the Earth Science Europe initiative – http://www.earthscienceeurope.org – which aims at establishing an Earth Science Forum or Board recognised by both the Earth Science community and the European Commission.
ECORD as an ERIC
In 2013, ECORD has started to explore a new way of organising its management and funding as a European Research Infrastructre Consortium (ERIC). A working group involving ECORD representatives and EC experts has been set up and reports to the ECORD Council on a regular basis.
DEDI: a proposal in the frame of the EC Integrated Infrastructure Inititative
A proposal coordinated by the BGS and based on the DEISM and DEDI pre-proposals was submitted in September 2014 in the frame of the EC H2020 INFRAIA – 2014- 2015. Unfortunately the proposal has been rejected.
DEISM: Distributed European Infrastructure for Subseafloor Sampling and Monitoring – DEDI: Distributed European Drilling Infrastructure
Deep Sea & Sub-Seafloor Frontier (DS3F) (2010-2012)
In continuation of DSF, a Coordination Action entitled “Deep Sea and Sub-Seafloor Frontier (DS3F)” was funded by the EC (FP7) and launched in January 2010. ECORD led the WP7 entitled “Mission subseafloor sampling”. The DS3F White Paper was published in 2012.
Deep-Sea Frontier Initiative (2006-2010)
The DSF Initiative was launched in 2006 and supported by ECORD-Net. A foresight document entitled “The Deep-Sea Frontier: science challenges for a sustainable future” was published in 2007 by the EC (FP7).
Soon after its launch in December 2003, ECORD was supported by an ERA-Net Coordinated Action (FP6), named ECORD-Net, to help set up the consortium. The project included 8 work-packages, 11 partners and was funded for 57 months >> ECORD-Net Final Report.
In September 2001, the EC-funded Thematic Network Joint European Ocean Drilling Initiative (JEODI) provided the basis for a distinct European operational component to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP). The European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD) was launched in December 2003 and officially joined IODP in March 2004.
Europe as part of scientific ocean drilling programmes (1968-2001)
From 1968 and the verification of the plate tectonics hypothesis, the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and, later on 1985, the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) have undertaken an unprecedented programme of international scientfic research in Earth Sciences. From 1969 until 2003, the field work and the post-cruise science research were organised around the activity of a single deep-ocean drilling ship, the Glomar Challenger for DSDP and the JOIDES Resolution for ODP.
Since the start of the International Phase of Ocean Drilling (IPOD) in 1975 when Germany, the United Kingdom and France joined USA, Japan and USSR, European scientists contributed significantly to both programmes.
From JEODI to ECORD (2001-2003)
In September 2001, the EC-funded Thematic Network Joint European Ocean Drilling Initiative (JEODI), which provided the basis for a distinct European operational component to the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), was launched. One of the main JEODI‘s objectives was to ensure that Europe’s voice is united in the new scientific ocean drilling programme. Furthermore, JEODI also defined how to implement mission-specific platform expeditions with shipboard and onshore laboratories, borehole geophysics and logging and education/outreach programme for the European part of scientific ocean drilling within IODP.
Although in ODP twelve smaller European nations had teamed up under a single consortium, Europe basically acted as a set of four individual members. For participation in IODP, the European countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to join as a single consortium named the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling (ECORD). In a way much different from the past years, Europe then not only benefits from a worldwide infrastructure, but also plays a major role in defining the science of the programme and in developing its technological know-how. As such, ECORD becomes a significant partner in IODP by providing the third leg to the programme with a set of mission-specific platforms.
ECORD and IODP (2003-2013)
In October 2003, the scientific ocean drilling entered a new era of sampling/monitoring the ocean floor with the development of a multiple platform programme based on the Initial Science Plan for the IODP, Earth, Oceans and Life (ISP). The USA and Japan recognised this need and joined the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) – involving two ocean-going vessels, a deep-sea drilling vessel, equipped with riser technology, named Chikyu owned and operated by Japan (CDEX), and a multi-tasking vessel, JOIDES Resolution, equipped and operated by the USA (USIO).
However, the two deep-sea drilling vessels are unable to achieve all objectives of the ISP, particularly in shallow water environments and in ice-covered regions. Both environments are key locations to key to study past climate changes – sediments deposited in the shallow seas and continental margins control the carbon cycle on Earth, and the Arctic is the thermostat controling the Earth’s ocean currents, but its deep seafloor, which contains the archives of ancient ocean evolution, remained totally unknown. These realms were sampled with mission-specific platforms (MSPs) implemented on a case-by-case basis by ECORD such as I/B Vidar Viking, DP Hunter, L/B Kayd, Greatship Maya and Greatship Manisha.
Such a common approach initiated by the European funding agencies forming the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling – ECORD was supported by the European Commission as an ERA-Net Coordinated Action (FP6), named ECORD-Net from 2003 to 2008.