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Potential Shutdown of Federal Gov't Operations

At midnight September 30th, 2015, current year funding to the federal government may expire. While uncertain, if funding does expire, federal agencies will began implementing their shutdown procedures in accordance with agency procedures relating to a lapse in appropriations.

In past shutdowns, ongoing research was not affected and applications and awards were delayed but resumed after a budget was negotiated.

If a shutdown does occur: 1) active grant and contract activity funded with current or prior year appropriations can continue. However, agency personnel most likely will not be available for approvals, supervisory support, and other administrative functions; 2) routine, ongoing operational and administrative activities relating to contract or grant administration (including payment processing) cannot continue; 3) no new awards will be issued, and: 4) most likely, new grant applications will not be accepted, though this may depend on each agencies internal approach.

As events unfold, OSP will provide updates, news, and guidance. We will also publish agency specific guidelines as they are released.

Keep in mind:

  • Operational and administrative activities related to the federal oversight of research regulations and its administration of grants, cooperative agreements and contracts will temporarily cease. A shutdown and the associated furlough of federal employees does not waive or alter the University's obligation to comply with federal regulations, rules and policies.


  • OSP will continue to review, approve and submit proposals to federal sponsors to the greatest extent possible. However, some federal government electronic systems may not accept proposals and some agencies may discourage application submission.  Additionally, there will be no help desk or technical support available for federal government electronic systems.


  • No awards will be issued by federal sponsors during the funding lapse. Award actions under negotiation at the time of the shutdown and multi-year contracts that end after the current fiscal year eds may be put on hold by the sponsor. Federal employees will not be available to conduct routine business.


  • Work on federal awards currently in hand may continue to the extent that funding is available and such performance does not require federal staff intervention, unless the federal sponsor issues a stop-work order. If a stop-work order is issued, OSP will receive a notice from the federal sponsor and will inform the PI and department. Projects funded by contracts or cooperative agreements are more likely to receive stop-work orders or performance suspension notices than projects funded by grants.


  • Spending on awards and award modifications not yet received is the decision of the unit that will administer the award. OSP will continue to process all approved requests for preaward spending, preliminary projects, and preliminary extensions. Department chairs, unit directors, deans and vice presidents should carefully consider the additional risk caused by the shutdown and, if desired, discuss requests with OSP prior to endorsing such requests.


Please direct questions regarding the possible shutdown's impact on your current awards to your Sponsored Projects Officer.


Last Updated: 12/1/22