- Get Involved
The intent of this orientation booklet is to provide Smithsonian development staff with information about how the Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP), the Development office and unit development officers work together in the pursuit and stewardship of private grants and contracts.
This booklet does not reflect all the functions managed by OSP. For further details on please contact OSP. We welcome your inquiries.
For a PDF version of this guide, please click here.
OSP is the Smithsonian business office assigned with institutional responsibility for the administration and management of all externally-funded grant and contract awards. This management responsibility includes private grants and contracts. OSP is responsible for award signature, setting up and classifying awards in the accounting system, and for ensuring the Smithsonian complies with all award, Institutional, and auditor requirements. Therefore, OSP must approve the project budget and terms and conditions of the award agreement.
The definitions for these and other types of awards are defined in Smithsonian policy SD 318, "Externally Funded Grants and Sponsored Project Contracts." Classifying an award, at times, can be a complex process. A quick indicator of a grant is an award in which the sponsor requires a detailed financial accounting of the funds spent and/or a return of unspent funds. A contract would have further restrictions.
OSP supports any project that receives external funds as a grant or contract, from federal and non-federal sources. These are broadly characterized as research, exhibit, education, collections, or capital projects.
Stewardship of grant and contract funding from private sources is a shared concern of OSP, the Development office and unit Development staff. OSP most often works with development staff on matters concerning:
OSP coordinates with development staff if there is a need to contact a private sponsor regarding a non programmatic matter. OSP routinely defers to development staff in this regard to respect the personal relationships that development staff may have or is building with the sponsor’s representative. In return, development staff keep OSP apprised of any discussions and provide copies of sponsor correspondence for OSP’s understanding and files.
The Secretary has delegated responsibility for accepting grants and contracts to the Director of OSP. OSP’s signature represents the Smithsonian’s legal commitment to carry out the project according to the terms and conditions of the award.
OSP recognizes the value of good sponsor relations and, therefore, consults with the appropriate development staff to determine the best way to approach a sponsor and ensure the timeliness of all required reports.
Once OSP has signed a grant award, a fund is set up in the Smithsonian’s accounting system (ERP) for the amount of the award. Access to the fund is usually available within 24-48 hours. Note that the cash does not need to be received from the sponsor in order for the unit staff to be able to spend funds.
SD 304 "Guidelines for Administering Indirect Cost (Overhead) Rates and Charges"
SD 318 "Externally Funded Grants and Sponsored Project Contracts"
SD 321 "Review and Submission of Proposals for Sponsored Projects"
OSP has three main divisions: the administrative (pre-award) staff, who assist with proposal development and award negotiation; the financial (post-award) staff who invoice the sponsor and prepare financial reports; and the audit liaison, who calculates and negotiates the indirect cost rate with the federal government and manages all audit activities. A listing of the administrative and financial contacts for your unit is found on OSP’s website http://prism.si.edu/osp/.
Refer to OSP’s PRISM Website or call us at 202-633-7110. We are often on site at your museum or unit and are happy to visit with you.
Training classes are taught regularly by OSP. For more information or registration instructions, please refer to the Programs and Events page or call our main line at 202-633-7110.