Published: Dec. 21, 2018

Denitta Ward

Denitta D. Ward, Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research & Innovation; Director, Office of Contracts and Grants

As you may be aware, the United States Congress has failed to pass a temporary or permanent federal budget measure affecting a number of federal agencies. As a result, pursuant to the Antideficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. 1341 et seq., as of midnight December 21, 2018, some federal government “nonessential” operations have halted until passage of a funding measure. Though we do not know how long the shutdown may last, historically they have lasted less than a week and some have lasted less than a day.

The Office of Management and Budget has issued agency operations guidance regarding grants and contracts in addition to posting various agency-specific contingency plans. Researchers are requested to review the guidance provided by the funding agency/agencies supporting their active research projects. Should assistance be needed, please contact OCG Director Denitta Ward at

During previous shutdowns, the United States Government honored its commitments to ongoing sponsored projects and reimbursed expenses incurred during the shutdown, but there is no blanket guarantee that such expenses will be reimbursed this time.

Nonetheless, we have chosen NOT to suspend essential work on our federally funded sponsored projects. The campus supports the continued success of ongoing research and the protection and well-being of research subjects. We request, however, that you limit project expenses to personnel and essential supplies and services during the shutdown. To be clear, in no event should the University’s animal or human subjects be negatively impacted by the government shutdown.  

It is likely that federal program, grant and contract officers on your award or contract may not be deemed “essential personnel.” They would, therefore, be unavailable to provide reviews and approvals for actions requiring preapproval, such as travel.  

Please also be aware:

  • Should CU Boulder receive stop-work or termination for convenience notices on specific contracts or awards, we will be in contact with the PI and the assigned department administrator individually.
  • We will review the status of the shutdown and, if and as necessary, commence official notifications to affected subcontractors and subrecipients under CU’s federally funded projects. 
  • To the extent federal electronic systems are functioning, the Office of Contracts and Grants will continue to submit federal proposals. There is a strong likelihood that federal submission systems will be shutdown, as happened in prior shutdowns.
  • We will continue to share general updates on this situation with our community through our federal funding website and CU Boulder Today, as well as the RIO Bulletin.
  • In the event that the shutdown becomes prolonged, please see the Office of Contracts & Grants homepage for specific information about federal contracts and grants.

If you have any questions about the government shutdown and its potential effect on sponsored projects at CU Boulder, please contact Denitta Ward at 303-735-6624 or