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Update: January 28, 2019

FEDERAL AGENCIES RE-OPEN AFTER PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

The short-term continuing resolution that was signed into law on January 25 provides for three weeks of funding for those agencies that were affected by the partial shutdown, opening the way for federal employees in those affected agencies to return to work.

As they resume their duties, agency officials will be taking on two major tasks: dealing with backlogs of routine work such as issuance of awards, approval of non-competing continuations, etc.; and coming up with new timelines and arrangements for peer review panels and other important business that was originally scheduled and then cancelled during that past month. According to Science Insider, NSF needs to reschedule over 100 review panels involving over 2000 grant applications.

We recommend during this time, that you be understanding of your program officials and their efforts to catch up on the backlog. Avoid contacting a program officer with a question that can wait. If you are concerned about pending approval of a budget matter, consider contacting your Contract and Grant Specialist first. As a team, they are comparing notes on what they are encountering and may be able to determine if the delay you're experiencing is unusual.

Additionally, continue to do your part:

Proposals:

  • Continue to submit applications for existing opportunities
  • Systems for proposal submission continue to be available. Should you experience any technical difficulties, the help desk should now be staffed for assistance.

Awards:

  • If you are expecting a new Award, be patient as the agencies work through their backlog
  • This is also true for additional funds for continuation years/supplements, as well as any previously submitted no cost extension requests that require sponsor approval.

Reporting requirements:

  • Progress Reports must be submitted on time
  • Financial Reports must be submitted on time
  • Final Reports for closeout of an award, must be submitted on time

Please contact your Contract and Grant Specialist for specific questions about your proposal or award.

As a reminder, not all agencies were affected by the partial government shutdown. The listings below indicate those Agencies who were affected by the shutdown and remain at risk should there not be a resolution by February 15th.

Please be aware that there are active links below to those agencies that have published specific updates related to their resumption of operations including information on changes to proposal submission deadlines.

Agencies returning to work after 35 day shut-down:
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce (includes NIST & NOAA)
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Interior
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of State
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Treasury
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • National Endowment for the Arts

Agencies with FY2019 appropriations, not affected by the shutdown:

  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy (includes National Labs such as Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories)
  • Department of Health and Human Services (includes National Institutes of Health)
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of Veteran Affairs

January 8, 2019

PARTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

The partial federal government shutdown continues. Congress and the White House continue to be stalled on legislation to fund those portions of the federal budget for which FY2019 appropriation bills have not yet been signed into law. Per existing law, agencies without current appropriations have shut down their operations other than as necessary to protect life and property. 

In preparation for a shutdown and to the degree that they are able to act during a shutdown, agencies work to minimize the long-term consequences. If the shutdown is extended, agency leadership may have means to make further adaptations and to provide further guidance. Lehigh Research and Government Relations offices continue to monitor any agency communications and developments in Washington. We will continue to update this site as information changes. This page will also serve as a source of information once the partial shutdown ends and agencies work to resume normal operations.

The shutdown of agencies without appropriations does not rescind our authority to spend under already-issued awards. Affected agencies cannot, however, issue new awards, including non-competing continuing-year increments to current grants, and anything requiring staff action, such as issuance of no-cost extensions, cannot occur.

What to be aware of regarding Proposals:

  • Applications may be submitted for existing opportunities. Systems for proposal submission will be available, but proposals will not be reviewed. If there are technical issues, the help desk will be unable to assist.
  • New funding opportunities will not be posted

What to be aware of regarding Awards:

  • Work can continue on existing awards if obligated funds are available and the work does not require support of federal employees or facilities
  • New Awards will not be issued during the shutdown
  • Additional funds for continuation years/supplements will not be awarded during the shutdown

Reporting requirements:

  • Progress Reports must be submitted on time
  • Financial Reports must be submitted on time
  • Final Reports for closeout of an award, must be submitted on time

Additional Guidance and Resources:

  • Work under all current federal awards should continue unless you receive different instructions from the agency or our offices.
  • Please contact your Contract and Grant Specialist for specific questions about your proposal or award, or if online submissions fail
  • Agency contingency plans and related FAQs can be found on the federal Office of Management and Budget website: White House Office of Management and Budget

Not all agencies would be affected by the partial government shutdown. The listings below indicate agencies with and without current appropriations.  Links, where they appear, are to agency information pages of relevance.

Agencies whose appropriation bills have not been passed:

          Agencies with FY2019 appropriations:

  • Department of Defense

  • Department of Education

  • Department of Energy (includes National Labs such as Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories)

  • Department of Health and Human Services (includes Natiional Institutes of Health)

  • Department of Labor

  • Department of Veteran Affairs



ORSP

Procurement and the Micropurchase Threshold

The long-awaited OMB Memorandum to address implementation of the Micropurchase Threshold was released on June 20, 2018. Specifically, OMB Memorandum M-18-18, Implementing Statutory Changes to the Micro-Purchase and the Simplified Acquisition Thresholds for Financial Assistance, effectively implements the statutory changes set forth in the National Defense Authorization Acts (NDAA) for Fiscal Years 2017 and 2018.

A key element of the Memorandum is the section titled: Process for Requesting a Higher Threshold Under the NDAA for FY2017. COGR recognized the sense of urgency for those institutions that currently have an MPT greater than $10,000 and the need to have a clear and timely “approval process” to continue using their MPT greater than $10,000. Finally, under this section of the Memorandum, guidance has been provided:

Requests for approval should be submitted to the institution's cognizant Federal agency for indirect cost rates; however, institutions should contact the agency before sending the request to determine the correct point of contact. The cognizant Federal agency will assign review of the request to the appropriate office within the agency to determine whether to approve, and will maintain records and justification of all approvals. The request should include the threshold level being requested and the justification(s) for it based on the criteria above per Section 2 I 7(b) of the NDAA for FY2017.

See Lehigh's Purchasing Office for more information.

Grants.gov

For years, applicants have applied for federal grants by submitting a package of PDF forms. But on Dec. 31, 2017, Grants.gov will officially retire the legacy PDF package as a method to apply for a federal grant. Why? There’s now a fast, easy, and secure alternative to apply for federal grants called Workspace. Grants.gov Workspace is an online environment optimized for applicants who are collaborating on an application. Forms can either be completed online within a web browser or downloaded individually and uploaded to Workspace. Applicants who have already made the switch say Workspace is saving them time and making the application process easier.

See the tutorial at https://blog.grants.gov/2017/07/10/grants-gov-workspace-fast-easy-to-use-and-secure/

Browse the YouTube channel today and learn how to register with Grants.gov to use Workspace when applying for your next federal grant.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

NEXUS - The online news source for the National Institutes of Health

NIH Grants and Funding Listing

Application Guide: 2018 NIH SF424 (R&R) - Forms Version E Research Instructions - To download PDF

NIH recommended 2018 Post-doctoral and predoctoral stipend levels

 

National Science Foundation (NSF)

January 29, 2019 - NSF's new 2019 Proposal & Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG) goes into effect. For a PDF or HTML version, see the link below.

December 4, 2018 - NSF releases FAQs for their new award Term and Condition entitled "Notification Requirements Regarding Sexual Harassment, Other Forms of Harassment, or Sexual Assault." Click on this link: https://www.nsf.gov/od/odi/docs/Sexual_Harassment_FAQs.pdf

NSF Newsfeed

Application Guide: 2019 NSF Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide

 

Department of Energy (DOE)

DOE open Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs)

 

Research Notes  ORSP Newsletter archive