Skip navigation
Share this page
Online Collections & Datasets
Selected highlights from the many research resources online at the Smithsonian.

Guide to Sponsored Projects

Smithsonian Institution's Guide to Sponsored Projects (PDF and HTML) w/ linked table of contents and Appendices

For a PDF version of this guide, please click here.


Since its inception, the Smithsonian Institution has been involved in research and scholarly work in areas such as astronomy, astrophysics, cultural and biological diversity, the global environment, human ecology, space science, art history, humanities, arts, and social sciences. Increasingly, grants and contracts from public and private sponsors have supported these research and scholarly efforts. For nearly three decades, rising numbers of externally funded projects and more stringent requirements for financial and program accountability have challenged Smithsonian Principal Investigators and administrative officers alike.

This Guide to Sponsored Projects is intended to help Smithsonian staff, Research Associates, and Collaborators who wish to seek, or who have already obtained, external funding for a project, exhibition, or research activity. The process of identifying, seeking, obtaining, and administering external funds can be complex. It is hoped that this Guide will lift the burden of interpreting sponsor and Smithsonian policies, assist in the compliance with these policies, and serve as a resource for those involved in the various aspects of sponsored project activity.

The Guide directs Principal Investigators, Fund Managers and other staff from the development of a project idea through the administration and close-out of an award. In addition to answering the most commonly asked questions related to grants and contracts, the Guide references several Smithsonian policies affecting sponsored projects. It summarizes the steps involved in applying for grants and contracts from external government, corporate, and foundation funding, and provides a listing of additional materials, manuals, and policies for further information. Moreover, the Guide provides the names and telephone numbers of OSP staff who can help every step of the way.

We have attempted to produce a Guide that will support and ease the efforts of Principal Investigators who seek and administer grants and contracts. Representatives of the research community and staff administrators who provide support services to Principal Investigators have reviewed drafts of the Guide. The Guide is a more useful tool as a result of their input. We wish to express our gratitude to the reviewers for their extensive comments and suggestions.

Smithsonian staff may obtain the Guide by logging on to the Office of Sponsored Project’s website ( or by contacting OSP directly. Changes and additions to the Guide will be provided through updates on OSP’s website as they occur. If you have questions or comments concerning the information presented in the Guide or on sponsored project related matters, please contact the Office of Sponsored Projects by phone (202-633-7110), fax (202-633-7119), e-mail (, or mail (Smithsonian Institution, Office of Sponsored Projects P.O. Box 37012 MRC 1205, Washington D.C. 20013-7012). OSP is located at 2011 Crystal Dr., Ste. 352, Arlington, VA 22202.

J. Scott Robinson, CRA
Office of Sponsored Projects

The OSP Vision

The vision of the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) is to be the finest sponsored projects administration office as viewed by the Smithsonian community, external sponsors, and OSP staff. OSP seeks to foster proposal development for research, education, and exhibitions throughout the Smithsonian; promote and sustain sound business practices; and provide the highest quality of administrative management and financial services to support the Smithsonian Institution's mission. OSP encourages an office community of staff having professional and cultural diversity.

The OSP Values

All Staff members understand that the pulse of the office is its values. In establishing and living by a set of shared values, the staff view these shared values as beacons to an ideal work experience. Staff behaviors and the resulting actions that a small team of committed employees can accomplish in each and every annual planning cycle speak to the importance of shared values. OSP values honesty, personal and group integrity, rigor and responsibility, respect and courtesy, open communication, equity and tolerance, dedication and discipline.

OSP Goals

To support the Smithsonian's mission and vision, OSP strives to meet five goals:

Goal 1: To provide high quality services for all Principal Investigators and museum/institute/office/management staff.
Goal 2: To facilitate the increase of the sponsored projects base and indirect cost recovery.
Goal 3: To keep Smithsonian sponsored project stakeholders informed and advocate for their interests.
Goal 4: To foster an environment of accountability and compliance, reduce risks, and decrease the possibility of negative audit findings.
Goal 5: To encourage and maintain a nurturing environment for OSP staff.

Flow Chart and Appendices

Sponsored Project Flow Chart (pdf)

APPENDIX A - OSP Organization Chart
APPENDIX B - SD-318 Externally Funded Grants and Sponsored Project Contracts
APPENDIX C - SD 319 Interagency Transfers
APPENDIX D - List of Other Sources to Assist Principal Investigators
APPENDIX E - Checklist for Developing a Proposal
APPENDIX F - Matrix of Employee and Consultant Distinctions
APPENDIX G - Guidelines for Internal Budget Development, Sample Budget
APPENDIX H - Account Categories to Be Used on Grants and Contracts
APPENDIX I - SD 304 Guidelines for Administering Indirect Costs
APPENDIX J - Does the Smithsonian Charge Indirect Costs on Sponsored Projects?
APPENDIX K - OSP Report of Cost-Sharing
APPENDIX L - Proposal Brief Form
APPENDIX M - Smithsonian Statement of Organizational Status
APPENDIX N - Regulation and Compliance Issues Pertaining to Sponsored Projects Administration
APPENDIX O - Guidelines for Protocol Submission to IACUC
APPENDIX P - Smithsonian Patent Policy & Disclosure Form and Copyright Policy - Executive Summary
APPENDIX Q - SD 604 Misconduct in Research
APPENDIX R - Smithsonian Announcement 91-25: Unauthorized Contracting
APPENDIX S - SD 308 Advanced Funding Policy
APPENDIX T - Project Award Summary
APPENDIX U - Sample SFS Financial Reports
APPENDIX V - Proposal Submission Checklist for Principal Investigators
APPENDIX W - Subcontract/Consultant Contract Checklist for Principal Investigators