International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP)

Exploring our Earth through science in depth

The International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) was formed in 1996 to encourage Earth scientists to use the investigative tool of scientific drilling to test models from information gathered at the Earth’s surface.
The ICDP include 22 participating countries across the world. In addition, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a Corporate Affiliate.

ICDP has developed four important scientific themes of Earth science for which drilling on continents can provide major insights. These four key scientific themes, under the overarching motto "Billions of years of Earth Evolution", are:

  • Geodynamic Processes;
  • Geohazards;
  • Georesources; and
  • Environmental Change.

In the framework of the ICDP Science Plan, future ICDP projects will focus on the evolution of planet Earth, past climates, the effects of large impacts and mass extinctions, the formation and wise utilization of our most significant resources, and in-situ monitoring of volcanoes and fault zones. Given the typically high cost of drilling and of research in boreholes, it is clear that any proposals for drilling with ICDP’s help must address substantial scientific questions with a strong focus on societal needs. The linkage to wider societal challenges will include climate action, mitigation of natural hazards, affordable clean energy, sustainable cities and communities and clean water and sanitation.

ICDP support is proposal-driven. Multinational research teams are invited to submit proposals to the ICDP in order to receive financial and operational support. ICDP provides a strategy for successful science delivery by funding workshops and co-funding drilling operations of different scales world-wide.

Participating organisations

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Related software

mobile Drilling Information System (mDIS)


mDIS is a database management application for capturing and curating meta data on geological samples, drilling progress, and related datasets such as images or geophysical well logs. It is easily adaptable and ensures that all data is compiled and quality controlled in one place.

Updated 1 month ago