University of Delaware

Shutdown's impact on research

Research Office shares information, webpage for updates


2:23 p.m., Oct. 1, 2013--The University of Delaware Research Office provides the UD research community with the following information about the conduct of federal contract and grant activity in light of the Oct. 1 government shutdown. Visit this webpage for continuing updates. 

Charlie Riordan, vice provost for research, shared information about the impact of a possible government shutdown with the UD research community last week. As excerpted from Riordan’s Sept. 26 memorandum (view PDF):

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• A shutdown would mean that a number of government activities would cease due to a loss of appropriated funding. This will impact contract and grant work funded either directly to the University or as federal flow-through.

• Federal agency employees who are paid with annual appropriations and who perform an activity associated with contract or grant administration (including oversight, inspection, payment or accounting) will generally not continue work during a funding hiatus. This means that normal, routine, ongoing operational and administrative activities performed by federal employees relating to contract or grant administration (including payment processing) cannot continue when there is a gap in funding. 

• Agencies have the ability to halt activity on grants, though this is not expected to happen for research. In general, active grant and contract activity funded with FY2013 (or prior year) appropriations can continue. However, agency personnel most likely will not be available for approvals, supervisory support and other administrative functions.

  a. In addition, it is not certain what will be the functionality of automated payment systems. Consequently, institutions should recognize that there is some risk that requests for reimbursement will not be processed.

  b. Other electronic administrative systems may or may not be available, depending on each agencies internal approach.

  c. In the event of a shutdown, no new awards will be issued and most likely no new obligations will be made. If an award is incrementally funded and new funds are to be obligated in fiscal year 2014, this will not happen during the shutdown.

  d. Agencies have the ability to delay proposal deadlines to compensate for any lapse in government activity.  Most likely, new grant applications will not be accepted, though this also may depend on each agencies internal approach.

• Agency specific guidance should be made available on a case-by-case basis. Agencies are required by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to implement agency plans for operation during a shutdown. Most likely, each agency plan will not be identical. In addition, certain programs may have special operating instructions. 

• For specific questions, researchers are encouraged to contact their contract and grant specialist in the UD Research Office.

“The Research Office will continue to monitor the situation and communicate to the research community any necessary information as it becomes available,” Riordan said.

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