With a potential of a federal shutdown looming, the Office for Research and Economic Development is providing this list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to various aspects of research administration and sponsored projects. Each agency will handle a federal shutdown in the manner deemed fit by the agency and that information will be communicated by each agency if the shutdown occurs. History indicates how the federal agencies will react, and these FAQs are based on that history and recent updates from the Council on Government Relations (COGR).
Please take the time to read through these FAQs to get an overview of the impact a federal shutdown might have on your sponsored project(s). Please note that ORED will provide agency-specific guidance if a federal shutdown occurs.
Campus Memo Sent:
General Information and FAQs
A Federal shutdown will result in some or all federal agencies reducing staffing to mission-essential personnel. Routine public services will be unavailable. If you attempt to contact a federal agency, it’s unlikely that an employee will answer your call or respond to your email. The employee is not allowed to work because the appropriation that funds their salary has lapsed.
- Most (potentially all) federal agencies will not issue new funding opportunities (e.g., program announcements, requests for proposals [RFPs], or other solicitations).
- Proposal submission portals/systems will likely be unavailable, but this could vary by agency. However, if these are available, there will be no tech or help desk support.
- Proposals submitted during this period will only be reviewed when the government reopens.
- Most proposal submission deadlines falling during the shutdown period will be extended. However, check with OSP to verify that this is true for your specific sponsor. New deadline dates will be announced after the shutdown is over.
- Peer review panels scheduled to occur during the shutdown will be cancelled and will likely be rescheduled to a later date.
- No new direct federal grants, contracts, or cooperative agreements will be awarded unless the work to be conducted relates to essential services.
- No new funding increments (amendments, supplements) will be awarded.
- Likely not, but you should plan for this possibility and only expend funds for necessary purchases during this period. Usually, for assistance agreements (grants and most cooperative agreements), awardees may continue performance to the extent funds are available and if the term of the grant or cooperative agreement has not expired.
Unless you are directed otherwise by sponsor mandate or OSP guidance, we recommend that you do not stop working on your project. If you stop working you will not be eligible to recover expenses when the government resumes operations.
- Historically, when the federal shutdown is over and the government resumes operations, the government has retroactively covered expenses incurred during the shutdown period. However, since this is an option and not a requirement, you may should mitigate risk by not making large purchases on your project during the shutdown period.
- This differs by agency but often no payments will be made during the shutdown. Consult with OSP to find out how your sponsor will be handling payments during the shutdown period.
- Again, this may vary by sponsor, but it is likely that submission portals/systems may not be available during the shutdown.
- In general, requests for these types of actions cannot be submitted or processed because only essential personnel will be working at the federal level. If the request can be emailed, OSP can submit the request during the period, but it likely will not be processed by the agency. Any request to be submitted in an agency portal is unlikely to be able to be submitted, as most agency portals will not be accessible during the shutdown.
- If your award is a contract, do not assume you can continue working. That likely will not be the case. Federal contracts and cooperative agreements that require federal oversight or coordination are likely to receive a stop-work order during the shutdown period.
- The sponsoring agency will notify contractors (recipients of a federal contract) whether they will be expected to continue work in support of an essential activity, or whether they will be required to suspend or stop work. If OSP receives this notice directly, we will communicate directly to the PI and Departmental Grant Administrator. If the PI or DGA receive this notice, please ensure it is immediately forwarded to OSP (email@example.com).
- Contractors may be authorized by the sponsor to continue performing under contracts, particularly for work in cases if sufficient funding was obligated prior to the shutdown and contract performance does not require the use of closed sponsor facilities and also in cases where the project doesn’t require Government oversight or support.
- In most cases, federal laboratories and office spaces will be closed except for access for essential personnel. Joint appointments, visiting appointments, and cooperative work in these spaces will likely receive a stop-work order or notice that access to the lab or office space is not available during the shutdown period.
- This will again be on a case-by-case basis per agency and employee essential personnel status, but most likely any personnel on an IPA or joint appointment with a federal entity will receive a stop-work notice during this period.
- Yes, this will likely mean fellows will not receive payments for the period during the shutdown. Unless we receive direction from the federal sponsors, fellows should continue their work with the understanding that retroactive payments should occur when the government reopens.
- Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the OSP team will respond to you as quickly as we can.
- Agencies will provide specific guidance as the situation develops. OSP will share this information as quickly as we can to affected personnel.
- Council on Government Relations (COGR) has provided general guidance and it can be found here.