Government Shutdown Information

The following is a letter from John W. Hanold, Ph.D, Director of Office of Sponsored Programs

Recommendation for managing proposal deadlines during the U.S. Federal government shutdown:

  • If a sponsor’s proposal submission website is functioning, you should plan to submit your proposal in accordance with previously established deadlines. However, government personnel may not always be available to answer questions and/or help with technical problems.
  • If a sponsor’s proposal submission website is not functioning during the shutdown, we expect/hope that the sponsor will revise its deadlines once the shutdown is over.
  • NSF is a special case. NSF FastLane is currently down, thus it is not possible to submit proposals through that system. NSF permits proposals to be submitted via, but this is not recommended, as NSF will not be providing any compliance checks on proposals submitted that way. (The last time we went through a shutdown, NSF deadlines were adjusted once the shutdown was over.)

In general, we continue to be optimistic that the shutdown will be ended soon, possibly even later today. Please continue to work toward your proposal deadlines so they are ready to submit as soon as the Government systems are all up and running.
Additional information about the shutdown follows:
The U.S. Government shut down Friday, January 19, at midnight. Some government websites are already down. See, for example, It states on this website that FastLane and will be unavailable until further notice. It also states that “ 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.” This website further states that “no new awards or funding increments will be issued during the shutdown.”
Other websites are still up, at least for the time being, e.g., the UG and the FAR.
More general guidance on the shutdown can be found here. In particular, please see Section II (Contracts and Grants, pp. 3-9). The FAQ states that “(I)n the situation in which performance under an already-issued contract or grant is not impacted by such a lapse, the contractor or grantee may continue to proceed with its work during the lapse period” (p. 3). But the Government is unlikely to issue any new grants or contracts, nor should we expect extensions or additional funding increments on existing grants and contracts (Q1., p. 4). “(D)epending on the duration of a funding lapse, the absence of available Federal employee oversight may lead an agency to reconsider whether the contract or grant activity should continue to be performed” (Q6, p. 6). If you receive suspension notices, stop-work orders, or termination orders, please forward them to OSP immediately. Penn State is unlikely to be reimbursed for work performed during the shutdown until after an appropriation is passed (Q10, p. 9).
Agency-specific shutdown plans can be found here. The NIH contingency plan (listed under DHHS) states the following: “National Institutes of Health (NIH) – NIH would continue patient care for current NIH Clinical Center patients, minimal support for ongoing protocols, animal care services to protect the health of NIH animals, and minimal staff to safeguard NIH facilities and infrastructure.”
John W. Hanold, Ph.D.
Associate Vice President for Research
Director, Office of Sponsored Programs
The Pennsylvania State University