International scientific and research institutes have joined together under the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) to investigate the structure of the Earth below the sea floor. Different drilling vessels and platforms are deployed worldwide to drill deep holes in the ocean floor.

The MARUM at the University of Bremen is also internationally distinguished because it hosts the IODP Bremen Core Collection as well as major international events such as the community-wide important conference on the future direction of scientific drilling (INVEST). It is also a partner to the ECORD Science Operator in carrying out Mission-specific platform operations for ECORD in its role within IODP, and hosts ECORD Summer Schools and ECORD Training Courses with the acclaimed virtual ship element. The Scientific Earth Drilling Information Service (SEDIS), a web-based information service to facilitate access to all data and information related to scientific ocean drilling, was also developed at MARUM. A satellite IODP Micropaleontological Reference Center (MRC) is located at the MARUM with complete sets of foraminifera and radiolarian samples from legacy cores from a wide range of geographical areas and geological ages.