New Ice Drilling Agreements for NSF-Funded Research

A drill used to extract ice cores in Antarctica. Ice drilling is vital to a wide range of scientific research
A drill used to extract ice cores in Antarctica. Ice drilling is vital to a wide range of scientific research. The IDPO/IDDO will work with the U.S. ice science and drilling communities to facilitate planning efforts and be proactive in the planning and coordination that is necessary to form and execute continuously evolving ice drilling and science programs. —Credit: Stephen Profaizer, NSF

THE ICE DRILLING PROGRAM OFFICE (IDPO) and the Ice Drilling Design and Operations group (IDDO) were established by the National Science Foundation (NSF) effective October 2008 to coordinate long-term and short-term planning in collaboration with the greater U.S. ice science community, and to be the principle supplier of ice drilling and ice coring support and expertise for NSF-funded research.

The IDPO consists of Mary Albert (Executive Director) at Dartmouth College, Charles Bentley (Director of Drilling Technology) at the University of Wisconsin (UW), and Mark Twickler (Director of Communications) at the University of New Hampshire. The IDPO provides scientific leadership and oversight of ice coring and drilling activities funded by NSF and also oversees the IDDO.

The IDDO, led by Charles Bentley at UW, provides engineering design support for new ice drilling systems as well as the operation and maintenance of existing drill systems. The IDDO cooperative agreement from NSF replaces the previous NSF contract to University of Wisconsin-Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center (UW-SSEC) for the Ice Coring and Drilling Services (ICDS) activity. Under the new NSF agreement, personnel from the ICDS group will provide IDDO operations and drilling services under IDPO oversight. The equipment purchased and developed by ICDS is now under the purview of the IDDO. The UW-SSEC group known as ICDS may provide drilling services for funding sources outside of NSF, under the name ICDS.

If you are preparing a NSF proposal that includes use of drills or requires any kind of coring or drilling support from the IDPO as part of your proposed project, you should notify the relevant NSF program director and also contact IDPO via an email to at least four weeks before you submit your proposal. This email will be received by the IDPO collaborators and by IDDO. Personnel from IDDO will contact you to discuss your needs, coordinate a letter of support with IDPO, and provide a letter with a cost estimate. This letter must be included as Supplemental Information with your proposal.

If you have any questions, please contact the IDPO at For more information about IDPO/IDDO, please visit the project website at

Ice Drilling Program Office
Mary Albert, Executive Director
Charles Bentley, Director of Drilling Technology
Mark Twickler, Director of Communications