In 2011, the international scientific ocean drilling community released Illuminating Earth's Past, Present, and Future, the Science Plan for the International Ocean Discovery Program (2013-2023). This science plan has been the basis for ocean drilling research expeditions in line with IODP's principles of scientific investigation.  

Planning for a new science plan for the post-2023 era is now underway. International planning workshops are being held from September 2018 through August 2019 in India, Australia, Japan, Europe, the United States, and China to capture the opinions of these international science communities. By the end of this process, over 800 participants will have worked together to assess the continuing relevance of the 2013-2023 science plan, and to explore possibilities for a new, post-2023 science plan in support of future scientific ocean drilling. The highlights and key outcomes of the planning workshops are now available

The development of a new post-2023 science plan will follow a timeline set by the IODP Forum in the Way Forward after Workshops.  In July 2019, eighteen international delegates forming the Science Plan Working Group met to produce a New Science Plan Structure and Road Map document highlighting the commonalities in the workshop outcomes and indicating a potential way forward towards a new science plan. Key aspects of this proposed new science plan, entitled Exploring Earth by Scientific Ocean Drilling, are

  1. A strong emphasis on interdisciplinary science at the crosslinks between science themes;
  2. Enabling the next generation in scientific ocean drilling through a science plan that extends to 2050;
  3. Eight open-ended strategic objectives that form the core of the science plan;
  4. Five long-term, interdisciplinary flagship initiatives that address critical societal challenges;
  5. Five-year programmatic reviews that allow intermediate adjustments or additions.

The New Science Plan Structure and Road Map document is now available for community comment before it is discussed at the annual meeting of the IODP Forum in Osaka in September 2019. 

Following discussion at the 2019 IODP Forum, a writing team for the post-2023 science plan will be assembled. This writing team will produce two draft versions of the new science plan with target dates in January 2020 and March 2020, respectively, that will be posted on iodp.org for community comment. In addition, the Science Plan Working Group will invite additional scientists to form an external review group. The final version of the new science plan will be sent to the printer by the end of April 2020 in order to be published in June 2020.

Delegates (18) to the Science Plan Working Group:

 Anthony Koppers (Chair) Oregon State University U.S 
 Cristiano Chiessi University of São Paulo Brazil
 Gail Christeson University of Texas at Austin U.S. 
 Mike Coffin University of Tasmania Australia (ANZIC)
 Rosalind Coggon University of Southampton U.K. (ECORD)
 Stuart Henrys GNS Science New Zealand (ANZIC)
 Yoon-Mi Kim KIGAM Korea
 Iona McIntosh JAMSTEC Japan
 Katsuyoshi Michibayashi Nagoya University Japan
 Yuki Morono KCC, JAMSTEC Japan
 Antony Morris University of Plymouth U.K. (ECORD)
 Richard Norris Scripps Institution of Oceanography U.S. 
 Matt O'Regan Stockholm University Sweden (ECORD)
 Anais Pages CSIRO Australia (ANZIC)
 Dhananjai Pandey NCPOR India
 Sandra Passchier Montclair State University U.S.
 Zhen Sun S. China Sea Institute of Oceanology China
 Huaiyang Zhou Tongji University  China