ECU geological sciences professor co-chairs panel overseeing sea drilling

An East Carolina University professor has volunteered his time and expertise with an international marine research collaborative dedicated to exploring the world’s oceans.

Dr. David Mallinson. (Contributed photo)

Dr. David Mallinson. (Contributed photo)

Dr. David Mallinson, professor of geological sciences in the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, has been a longtime member of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and recently completed a three-year term as co-chair of the program’s Science Evaluation Panel.

The 54-member science panel or SEP reviews drilling proposals from around the world. Mallinson co-chaired along with Dick Kroon from the University of Edinburgh and Ken Miller from Rutgers University.

“These proposals require a tremendous amount of work and review,” Mallinson said. “Large amounts of geophysical data need to be acquired and reviewed to demonstrate that the objectives of the proposal can be met.”

The SEP consists of top scientists from 25 participating nations who are assigned different proposals by the co-chairs. Approximately 20 proposals are considered at bi-annual meetings. Co-chairs review all documents, coordinate meetings and presentations, and make final decisions on the proposals.

“Proposal decisions are extremely important, in that each drilling expedition costs upwards of $12 to $14 million,” said Mallinson. “So there is a lot of pressure to get everything right.”

As co-chair, Mallinson also attended almost 20 meetings of other important panels and boards held in the United States, Europe and Japan.

DV JOIDES Resolution (US platform). (Contributed photo)

DV JOIDES Resolution (US platform). (Contributed photo)

“It was a huge time commitment. But it was great to represent ECU on an international stage,” said Mallinson.

Mallinson said he has enjoyed working with people from all over the world and visiting 13 different countries as a part of the SEP and IODP.

“It’s a great feeling to be involved with something that is so global in scale and represents the cutting-edge of Earth science,” said Mallinson, adding the opportunity to serve “provided a great platform for representing ECU to top scientists around the world, and helped to elevate the stature of the university.”

Prior to his term as co-chair of the SEP, Mallinson served a three-year term as vice-chair for the Site Characterization Panel. Mallinson also served as a member on the Proposal Evaluation Panel.

For more information on the IODP, visit and the SEP at


-by Lacey Gray