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Updates on Federal Funding Agency Government Shutdown


Need an RFP you Can't Access on a Federal Funding Agency Website?

October 14, 2013

One of the unanticipated problems experienced by researchers is that they can no longer obtain RFP's, solicitations and guidelines for funding opportunities from the websites of certain agencies such as NSF. While these Web pages exist, access to them has been prevented. If you have visited a website to view an RFP prior to the shutdown, please be aware that it may still be available if it is cached in Internet Explorer (IE) and Firefox temporary files on your computer. Also, the research community is sharing saved RFP’s and ORSP’s proposal submission software, Cayuse 424, has archived some guidelines and application packages for upcoming deadlines. Contact us if you need an RFP and we may be able to help.

Grants.Gov Portal is Still Open for Business

October 14, 2013

Although NSF Fastlane is closed, is still open for proposal submission. ORSP is continuing to submit proposals to meet known deadlines, although we are aware that these proposals are not being reviewed or processed. Fortunately, the Cayuse 424 software has automated routines that check proposals for errors that would give rise to administrative rejection of an application. As such, we are not reliant upon the staff in the federal offices for assistance in ensuring the forms are compliant with sponsor guidelines and requirements.

Government Agency Contingency Plans

October 1, 2013


Appropriations provided under the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act 2013 expired September 30 at 9 pm PT.

Although the Senate passed an emergency funding bill that will keep the agencies and critical services temporarily operating after October 1, the White House has made available a list of all government agency contingency plans resulting from this lapse in appropriations. Most agencies are planning to get information out to awardees and contractors this week. They have indicated that they will be first notifying those external activities that have to be shut down.

PI’s who currently have federal funding should check their funding agency plans to see how these may affect their expenditures and reporting on existing grants. The most significant effect appears to be proposal submission. NSF has placed their shutdown plans, which include shutting down FastLane, on their Website at 1:30 ET October 1. Although it appears that the submission portal will remain open for NSF proposal submission, these proposals will not be reviewed.

The NIH published their plans online. “Electronic submissions through will be open and can accept electronic applications. However, applications will not be processed by NIH until the eRA system is back on-line. NIH will ensure that all applications submitted within the two business days before or during the funding lapse will receive the full viewing window once the systems are back on-line. For electronic submission of multi-project applications through NIH’s ASSIST system: The ASISST system will not be available until NIH systems are back on-line. Staff will not be available to receive paper applications during a funding lapse.”

Most reports indicate that, in general, colleges and universities will only be modestly affected during a short-term stoppage. We are not entirely sure what the Agencies are going to do in the long term but in the short term it seems that most are going to continue to allow draw-downs which means that research on grants can continue and those paid off grants will be paid. However, NSF will not be able to process no-cost extensions, so "federal funds cannot be obligated for expenses that occur beyond the expiration date." Presumably this restriction will apply to other funding agencies.

The U.S. Department of Education’s (ED) plan would enable Pell Grants and federal student loans to continue as normal with associated staff and contractors continuing to work, although smaller ED financial aid programs would be harder hit. Additionally, ED would not award any new grants during this time and 90 percent of its workforce would be furloughed.

The National Endowment for the Humanities would cease all application reviews and processing, as well as all grant oversight and grant payments, while the Institute of Museum and Library Services plan takes a similar approach. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is currently operating under its 2011 plan which states that NEA would stop making grant payments during the shutdown, though work may continue under an award unless directed otherwise by the NEA Grants Office.


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