Federal Shutdown & Grant Funding

  • Monday, January 14, 2019 6:00 PM

The standoff between Congress and President Donald Trump over funding for a wall on the southern border has left the US government partially shut down for three weeks with still no end in sight. Work at several agencies has ground to a halt and the effects are rippling across the research world. It is difficult to quantify exactly how much funding has been delayed due to the shutdown because each agency works on a different schedule, but we do know which agency is affected. Here is what we know so far.

  • Department of Energy (DOE) = OPEN and business as usual with their FY-2019 Release 2 was a little late this year but they are up and running with Letters of Intent (LOI) Due January 7, 2019, and closing (due date) February 25, 2019.  (see https://science.energy.gov/sbir/ )
  • Department of Defence (DOD) = OPEN and business as usual.  They have their FY-19.1 BAA in pre-release and are scheduled to open January 8, 2019, and close (due date) February 6, 2019.  There are some interesting developments going on in DoD which we will cover later in this issue. (see https://www.acq.osd.mil/osbp/sbir )
  • National Institute of Health (NIH) = OPEN and business as usual with their customary receipt dates.  (see https://sbir.nih.gov/ )
  • Department of Education/Institute of Education Sciences = OPEN. From DoED/IES UPDATED January 11, 2019: It is now anticipated that the 2019 ED/IES SBIR Phase I program solicitation will be released on or around January 31, 2019, with a due date 45 days later. Please note: the Department of Education and its SBIR program are not affected by the partial government shutdown.”
  • Department of Homeland Security (DHS) = Law Enforcement Open, Grants CLOSED. From DHS, “NOTICE: Due to the lapse in federal funding, this website will not be actively managed. This website was last updated on December 21, 2018, and will not be updated until after funding is enacted. As such, information on this website may not be up to date. Transactions submitted via this website might not be processed and we will not be able to respond to inquiries until after appropriations are enacted.”
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) = CLOSED.  From the EPA, “Due to a lapse in appropriations, EPA websites will not be regularly updated. In the event of an environmental emergency imminently threatening the safety of human life or where necessary to protect certain property, the EPA website will be updated with appropriate information. Please note that all information on the EPA website may not be up to date, and transactions and inquiries submitted to the EPA website may not be processed or responded to until appropriations are enacted.” (see https://www.epa.gov/sbir)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF) = CLOSED, but applications may be submitted, although applicants cannot contact anyone for assistance. From NSF, “Due to a lapse in appropriations, NSF is closed. NSF will continue to accept proposals in accordance with published deadlines. Please continue to watch this site for changes to NSF’s operating status, reopening guidance for employees and, if necessary, general instructions for awardees”. They are still scheduled to release SBIR/STTR in March, 2019, closing in June, 2019. (see https://seedfund.nsf.gov/ )
  • Department of Commerce (DOC) = CLOSED. From DOC, Due to the lapse in Congressional Appropriations for Fiscal Year 2019, the U.S. Department of Commerce is closed. Commerce Department websites will not be updated until further notice. Assistance and support to recipients of grant funding will remain open only to the extent funded by other than current year annual appropriations. Content on DoC SBIR website will not be updated during a lapse in federal funding. Content on this website will not be current or maintained until funding issues have been resolved.”
  • Department of Commerce – National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) = CLOSED
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) = CLOSED From NASA, “UPDATE: Since funding appropriations have not been enacted, the 2019 solicitation did not open on January 7, 2019. However, NASA has released the draft research topics for 2019 SBIR and STTR. NASA will not answer any technical questions pertaining to the draft research topics. Once the government re-opens, there will be a decision made on when the solicitation will open and close. Annual funding for the government expired at 11:59 p.m. on December 21, 2018. In the absence of either a fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriation, or a continuing resolution, NASA may incur no further financial obligations except with limited exceptions for specific activities. The Electronic Handbook (EHB) will be available for your scheduled deliverables and submittals; however, no NASA personnel will be available to review or accept them until after appropriations are enacted. Awardees eligible to submit 2018 phase 2 proposals must still submit a phase 2 proposal through the EHB by the date specified in the phase 1 contract. Please return to https://sbir.nasa.gov for updates or contact the NASA SBIR/STTR Help Desk at sbir@reisystems.com (301) 937-0888. Note: Since funding appropriations have not been enacted, the 2019 solicitation will not open today [1/14/2019]. Once the government re-opens, there will be a decision made on when the solicitation will open and close.”
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) = CLOSED. From the USDA, “This website will not be updated during a lapse in federal funding. Content on this website will not be current or maintained until funding issues have been resolved. There is NO provision of new rural development loans and grants for housing, community facilities, utilities, and businesses. There is NO provision of new grants or processing of payments for existing grants to support research, education, and extension.”

Overall the following functions have ceased operating:

  • Planning (such as strategic, business, or budgetary activities)
  • Research and development activities
  • Most policy functions, administrative as well as programmatic, unless those functions can be justified by the above exceptions
  • Auditing
  • Regulatory, legislative, public affairs and intergovernmental affairs
  • Most training and development

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