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News: Government Shutdown - December 2018

Press Coverage

Government Shutdown - Impact on Research and Awards Process

Saturday, December 22, 2018, 8 a.m. – Funding for a number of federal agencies lapsed December 22, and as a result, the federal government is on a partial shutdown.

For anyone wondering whether, and if so how, a government shutdown may impact their federally funded project, ORSP encourages you to read the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Frequently Asked Questions During a Lapse in Appropriations, which includes a section starting on page 3 that addresses grants and contracts.

Agency-specific contingency plans are available at https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/information-for-agencies/agency-contingency-plans/.

Please note, per a recent Nature article, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Energy are not affected by the shutdown. Agencies that are impacted include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is technically subject to this government shutdown, it is using unexpired multi-year and "no-year" funding for the time being.


Neither we nor our contacts at the federal agencies know when operations will resume, and in many cases, the proposal submission procedures vary from agency to agency. The best course of action is for our research community to proceed with ongoing research unless notified differently; for new proposals, please submit to ORSP, and we will process according to the best and most recent directions provided to us by each agency. 

The following summarizes some of the impacts that may be experienced by the university research community.


What can I expect as a researcher or research administrator?

  • Do continue awarded research as usual unless otherwise advised by your agency or program.
  • Do still submit proposals to ORSP so that we can be responsive on your behalf as operations resume.
  • Know that approvals of new applications will likely be delayed, and in many cases, applications are not being accepted, but proceed as if they are.
  • Know that communications with federal offices, including those by phone, email or via websites, will likely be delayed, or may not be possible.
  • Know that access to funds may be delayed.

Additional questions

I am working on a new proposal that is due. Should I continue?

Yes. We encourage researchers to proceed with application preparations and be ready with every aspect possible, including submitting to ORSP for review and working with your research administrators. The submission requirements may vary from agency to agency, but your Project Representative at ORSP will process according to the best direction we are given. Note that any communications with federal agencies, including, questions, submissions, and approvals, will not be possible.

Can I continue to work on my federally funded research?

Yes, work may continue on all awards, unless otherwise notified, to the extent that doing so will not require federal staff intervention and that funds are available.

Will any of the above circumstances change my deadline for a new federal proposal?

The answer to this question is unknown at this time. We recommend that you move forward as if the deadline is the same and submit to ORSP. If a deadline is extended, applicants will be notified by the agency. Deadlines have not formally changed yet, any such changes will be communicated by the Federal agencies only after operations resume.