Policy Update: NSF and NIH Issue Guidance to the Community Following Government Shutdown

Fri, Oct 18, 2013

Prepared by: Lewis-Burke Associates LLC

Following the government shutdown, the National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued guidance to the research community requesting researchers allow NSF some time to reorganize. The main guidance includes: a request to researchers not to contact NSF staff until further notice; cancellation of all Advisory Committee meetings until 2014; no review panels to be held until November; and a delay of site visits or staff travel for one week where possible. On October 18, NSF released a detailed policy announcement to the community covering a range of issues including that NSF will revise due dates for funding opportunities with deadlines between October 1 though October 25, 2013.

In a letter to university Presidents and heads of research organizations, released shortly after NSF reopened, Dr. Cora Marrett, Acting Director of NSF highlighted that during the shutdown NSF was not able to receive proposals or send them out for peer review; convene review panels; make new awards; or make payments to existing awards. Dr. Marrett also highlighted the impact of the shutdown on major facilities and Ph.D. students. She asked the community to be patient while NSF staff caught up on the resulting backlog of work.

In a memo to NSF staff on October 17, Dr. Marrett included the following guidance to ensure NSF was back to full working order as soon as possible:

  • The Office of Budget, Finance and Award Management (BFA) will announce guidance for proposal deadline extension and other grant-related activities within one week.
  • NSF staff will share information with the community via the NSF website and should not respond directly to PI enquiries.
  • All Advisory Committee meetings will be canceled until 2014 unless an exception is granted by the NSF Director.
  • Panel and PI meetings will be postponed through the end of October.
  • Staff travel for outreach and site visits will be postponed for at least one week.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) released interim guidance in the NIH Guide stating that NIH will reschedule all October grant submission deadlines to new dates in November and these revised dates will be published as soon as possible. The guidance also stated that missed review meetings will be rescheduled and review meetings scheduled for the imminent future may also be postponed to enable reviewers extra time to have access to the applications and to complete their review.

For any immediate inquiries, please see your relevant program website. 2

Sources and Additional Information:

The "Grant and Cooperative Agreement Related Policy and Systems Issues Immediately Following the Resumption of Operations at the National Science Foundation" is available at: http://www.nsf.gov/bfa/dias/policy/postshutdown/guidance_oct18.pdf.

The NSF letter from Dr. Marrett to University Presidents sent on October 17 is available at: http://www.nsf.gov/pubs/2013/in134/in134.pdf.

The full NSF memo from Dr. Marrett to NSF staff is included in the Science Insider news story available at: http://news.sciencemag.org/sites/default/files/media/CMarrett_OD13-23_Re....

The NIH Guide, for future information is available at:  http://grants.nih.gov/GRANTS/guide/.