ECORD, the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drilling, is a management structure of 18 members (17 European countries and Canada) for scientific ocean drilling within the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP).
Since October 2003, the European research funding agencies, which have participated in the Ocean Drilling Program - ODP (1985 to 2003), formed the European Consortium for Ocean Research Drillling - ECORD to join the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program - IODP, under a single European/Canadian umbrella. As a co-ordinated unit, ECORD enables to achieve critical mass and economies of scale in its progress towards equal partnership with the USA and Japan.
The science in IODP concerns a wide range of fundamental and applied issues for society, such as global climate change, biodiversity, origin of life, natural hazards involving the study of earthquakes processes, mineral and energy resources along continental margins as well the internal structure and dynamics of our planet (see IODP Science Plan for 2013-2023 "Illuminating Earth's Past, Present and Future").
To achieve the science goals, a multiple platform approach is required: the U.S.A. and Japan operate deep-sea drillships, JOIDES Resolution and Chikyu respectively. ECORD's role is to extend the scientific capability of the programme by providing support for mission-specific platform (MSP) operations in key areas such as ice-covered regions - Arctic Coring Expedition - and shallow seas - Tahiti Sea Level, Great Barrier Reef Environmental Changes New Jersey Shallow Shelf and the Baltic Sea Paleoenvironment Expeditions - inaccessible to the US and Japanese drilling vessels.
To achieve its transition into the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP 2013-2023), which will be launched on October 1, 2013, ECORD is now focusing on:
- ECORD membership: the new ECORD Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was been sent to the 18 current members for decision on their level of participation in the new IODP;
- Delivering an average of one MSP expedition per year;
- Finalising the new MoUs with its partners, the USA (NSF) and associate members, and Japan (MEXT-JAMSTEC);
- Launching a new ECORD structure;
- Establishing a European Infrastructure based on the Distributed European Infrastructure for Subseafloor Sampling and Monitoring (DEISM) proposal submitted to the EC.