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Information About the Government Shutdown for NSF Proposers and Grantees

This document addresses the various assistance and contract-related policy and systems issues that may arise during a lapse in appropriations of the Federal Government. NSF is providing this information as a service to our proposer and awardee communities in the hopes that it will address most of the questions you may have during this time period. Unfortunately, considerable uncertainty exists surrounding a lapse in appropriations. As a result, proposers and awardees are strongly encouraged to monitor news outlets to determine if the Federal government, and therefore NSF, is open for business.

Please be aware that, except as noted below, NSF will not be available to respond to emails or phone calls during a lapse in appropriations, but will respond as soon as practicable after normal operations have resumed. NSF is committed to minimizing the negative impacts a disruption may have on the science and engineering enterprise and, as necessary, will issue follow-on guidance after normal operations resume.

Pre-award Activities for Assistance Awards (Grants and Cooperative Agreements)

Proposal Preparation & Submission

  • No new funding opportunities (Dear Colleague Letters, program descriptions, announcements or solicitations) will be issued.
  • FastLane and Research.gov proposal preparation and submission will be available; however, proposals will not be processed until normal operations resume.
  • Grants.gov proposal preparation and submission will likely be available; however, proposals will not be processed until normal operations resume.
  • Responses to any inquiries received regarding upcoming deadlines, including proposal preparation, will be deferred until normal operations resume.

Impact on Existing Deadlines

During a lapse in appropriations, NSF will continue to accept proposal submissions pursuant to existing deadlines.

Review Process

  • Ad hoc reviewers will be able to submit reviews via FastLane.
  • All panels (including virtual panels) scheduled to occur during a lapse in appropriations will be cancelled and will likely be rescheduled to a later date.
  • The Interactive Panel System will not be available.
  • The Graduate Research Fellowship Review Site will not be available.
  • Additional information will be available for panelists on the NSF website.

Proposal Processing Time

The Foundation may not be able to meet our customer service standard of informing proposers whether their proposals have been declined or recommended for funding within six months of the deadline or target date, or receipt date, whichever is later.

Issuance of New Grants and Cooperative Agreements

No new grants or cooperative agreements will be awarded.  

Issuance of Continuing Grant Increments (CGIs)

No new CGIs will be awarded. 

Post-award Administration for Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Performance of Work

Awardees may continue performance under their NSF awards during a lapse in appropriations, to the extent funds are available, and the period of performance of the grant or cooperative agreement has not expired. Any expenses must be allowable and in accordance with the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (2 CFR § 200). During a lapse in appropriations, NSF cannot authorize costs exceeding available award amounts or obligate additional funds to cover such costs.

Payments

No payments will be made during a lapse in appropriations. The Award Cash Management Service (ACM$) will not be available.

Project Reporting

Principal Investigators (PIs) will be able to submit annual and final project reports and Project Outcomes Reports via Research.gov. For continuing grants, however, awardees should be aware that no new CGIs will be awarded (see above) until normal operations resume. NSF's Public Access Repository will be available to deposit peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles and papers in juried conference proceedings:

No-Cost Extensions

  • FastLane will be available to submit both grantee-approved and NSF-approved no cost extensions (NCEs).
  • Grantee-approved NCEs do not require NSF approval; therefore, assuming all business rule checks have passed, the NCE would be processed automatically and the award date would be extended.
  • NSF-approved NCEs will not be processed until normal operations resume. Awardees, therefore, are cautioned that Federal funds cannot be obligated for expenses that occur beyond the award end date.

Award Transfer Requests

FastLane will be available to prepare and submit award transfer requests. However, these requests will not be processed until normal operations resume.

Supplemental Funding Requests

FastLane will be available to submit supplemental funding requests. However, these requests will not be processed until normal operations resume.

Other Post-award Notifications & Requests

Research.gov will be available to submit post-award notifications and requests. However, these notifications and requests will not be processed until normal operations resume.

Cooperative Agreements in Support of Large Facilities

  • Awardees may continue to perform under Cooperative Support Agreements for work where sufficient funds were obligated and drawn prior to a lapse in appropriations, and where performance does not require Government support, such as quality assurance oversight or other actions required of NSF staff. Awardees will not be able to draw down funds during a lapse in appropriations. Additionally, the absence of NSF personnel to process administrative actions or provide needed authorizations during a lapse in appropriations does not constitute agency approval of any pending action.
  • Since the cooperative nature of these agreements anticipates the need for Government involvement, when contacted by the cognizant Program Officer prior to a lapse in appropriations, awardees may work with NSF to put work plans in place outlining the extent and time duration that operations are to continue in the absence of NSF oversight and direction.
  • For Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) activities, even if funds are available, awardees may continue work only up until the next full monthly reporting period requirement, not to exceed 30 days, but must not enter into any subcontracts, or other like arrangements, that require NSF prior approval. If a lapse in appropriations continues to the monthly reporting period, not to exceed 30 days, awardees must minimize expenditures while taking such steps to orderly suspend these activities in a manner that does not imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property.

Payments

The Award Cash Management Service (ACM$) will not be available. No payments will be made during a lapse in appropriations.

Excepted Personnel

The Cooperative Support Branch (CSB) has a limited number of staff members designated to address emergency situations that arise with respect to Major Facilities that endanger life or property.

Contracts

  • NSF will notify contractors whether they will be expected to continue work in support of an excepted activity, will be issued an order to suspend or stop work, or take other appropriate action during a lapse in appropriations.
  • New contracts will not be issued during a lapse in appropriations, except those that NSF has identified as supporting excepted activities, and then only to the extent and amount necessary to meet those requirements.
  • Contractor personnel may be assigned by NSF to work on excepted activities, provided all requirements governing excepted activities are met. Contractors may perform these excepted services, but only to the minimal extent necessary to address emergency situations, such that the suspension of the function would imminently threaten the safety of human life or the protection of property.
  • Contractors may be authorized by NSF to continue to perform under other contracts for work where sufficient funding was obligated prior to a lapse in appropriations, provided performance does not require the use of closed NSF facilities, is not in support of closed NSF facilities, or where the contractor's work does not require Government oversight or support which would be funded by a lapsed appropriation (such Government oversight or support includes, but is not limited to quality assurance oversight, technical direction, review of deliverables, or similar actions requiring NSF staff).
  • NSF may notify certain cost reimbursement and Time and Materials contractors of work plans outlining the extent and time duration that operations can continue in the absence of NSF oversight and direction.

Payments

No payments will be made during a lapse in appropriations. An extremely limited exception may be made by NSF in circumstances where the payment is made in support of excepted activities, and failure to make the payment itself would result in an imminent threat to life or property.

Excepted Personnel

The Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support (DACS) has assigned Contracting Officers to support contract-related excepted activities during a lapse in appropriations.