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Shutdown Impacts Researchers

Researchers who rely on federal dollars face challenges during the federal government shutdown, which began Oct. 1 when Congress failed to approve a short-term measure to maintain the current level of spending. Only essential federal services are being provided during the shutdown.

In a memo to deans, directors and department heads on Tuesday, university officials said programs and grants funded by the federal government may continue if their funding was approved prior to Oct. 1. The university will use cash reserves to pay expenditures for these programs and grants during the shutdown, with the expectation that the federal government will eventually reimburse the university.

But they asked managers to limit expenditures on federally funded projects as much as possible, since university reserves are limited.

The news is decidedly gloomier for researchers with grants in the “pre-award” stage. For federal awards, this is generally a 90-day period during which researchers may need to spend money—for specialized equipment or to cover a payroll deadline, for example—even though the term of the grant has not officially begun.

The university will not authorize spending on any new or existing pre-award projects during the shutdown, the memo said. Any salaries or other expenditures now pending against these projects must be charged to an alternative funding source.

The memo from Terri Lomax, vice chancellor for research, innovation and economic development, and Charles Leffler, vice chancellor for finance and business, is available online.

Responses (3 Comments)

  • Michael Wohlgenant

    Your characterization of the shutdown implies the Republicans are at fault when the real fault lies with the Democrats, Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader and President Obama who refuse to delay implementation of Obamacare for individual mandate, even though they allowed delay for employer mandate. You need to get the facts right.

  • David Hunt

    Congress refers to both the House and the Senate, not just the House of Representatives.

  • Michael Wohlgenant

    I realize that. However, common language is to refer to members of the House as Congressmen and members of the Senate as Senators. Given that common usage of Congress I’m concerned some may only think of the House of Representatives. Thanks for the reply.

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