Research & Economic Development

Office of the Vice Chancellor

News & Announcements

NSF Assistance and Contract-Related Policy and Systems Issues During the Government Shutdown

Posted Oct 01, 2013

 This document addresses the various assistance and contract-related policy and systems issues that may arise during the shutdown 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.

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

Assistance - Grants and Cooperative Agreements

Proposal Preparation & Submission

• No new funding opportunities (program descriptions, announcements or solicitations) will be issued.

• FastLane proposal preparation and submission will be unavailable.

• may be up and running, however, since FastLane will not be operating, proposal downloads from will not take place. Therefore proposals will not be checked for compliance with NSF proposal preparation requirements or processed until normal operations are allowed to resume.

Impact on Existing Deadlines

• Once normal operations resume, NSF will issue guidance regarding any funding opportunities that have a deadline or target date that occurs during the government shutdown. Such information will be disseminated via a FastLane Advisory and other electronic methods. 
Proposal Review Process

All panels scheduled to occur during the shutdown will be cancelled and will likely be rescheduled to a later date.

• Ad hoc reviews will not be able to be submitted via FastLane.

 Proposal Processing Time

• The Foundation may not be able to meet our customer service standard of informing applicants 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 (whether electronically released upon Program Officer acceptance of the Annual Project Report or approved by a Grants and Agreements Officer) will be awarded.

 Post-Award Administration

Performance of Work

• Awardees may continue performance under their NSF awards during the shutdown, to the extent funds are available, and the term of the grant or cooperative agreement has not expired. Any expenses must be allowable and in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cost circulars. During the shutdown, NSF cannot authorize costs exceeding available award amounts or obligate additional funds to cover such costs.


• No payments will be made during the shutdown. 

Project Reporting  

• Principal Investigators (PIs) will be unable to submit annual and final project reports or project outcomes reports via For continuing grants, awardees also should be aware that since annual project reports will not be able to be submitted and Program Officers will not be available to approve them, no new continuing grant increments will be awarded (see above). Awardees should submit their reports as soon as possible after NSF systems are available.

 No-Cost Extensions

• No-cost extensions (including awardee-approved and NSF-approved) will not be able to be submitted or processed.

Awardees, therefore, are cautioned that Federal funds cannot be obligated for expenses that occur beyond the award expiration date.

 Award Transfer Requests will not be able to be submitted or processed.

 Supplemental Funding Requests will not be able to be submitted or processed.

 Other Post Award Notifications & Requests will not be able to be submitted or processed.

 Cooperative Agreements in Support of Large Facilities

• Recipients may continue to perform under Cooperative Support Agreements for work where sufficient funds are available, and performance does not require Government support which would be funded by a lapsed appropriation, including quality assurance oversight or other actions required of NSF staff.

• Since the cooperative nature of these Agreements anticipates the need for Government involvement, NSF has, or will have, put work plans in place with the Large Facility Cooperative Agreement Recipients outlining the extent and time duration that operations will continue in the absence of NSF oversight and direction.

• For Agreements that include major research equipment and facilities construction, unless the work is considered to be essential to the operations of the Foundation, and therefore NSF personnel have been retained to provide oversight of construction activities, work cannot proceed for an extended period, even if funds are available, based on the foreseen need for NSF oversight of construction activities.


• No payments will be made during the shutdown.


NSF will notify contractors whether they will be expected to continue work in support of an excepted activity, or will issue an order to suspend or stop work, or take other appropriate action during the shutdown as determined by NSF.

New contracts will not be issued during a shutdown, except those that NSF has identified as supporting excepted activities, and then only to the extent and amount necessary to meet those requirements.

Contract personnel may be instructed by NSF to excepted activities, provided all of the 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 the shutdown, 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.


•No payments will be made during the shutdown. 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 has assigned Contracting Officers to support contract-related excepted activities during the shutdown.