Internship Opportunities

Table of Contents

  1. Internship Program Overview
  2. OSP Overview
  3. Former Intern Projects
  4. Application Procedures
  5. EEO Policies for Interns

1. Internship Program Overview

Interns with the Office of Sponsored Projects are unpaid internships. Interns participate in projects that directly or indirectly help Smithsonian research, curatorial, and educational staffs prepare proposals and administer grants and contracts. Emphasis is placed on developing special short and long-term projects that will be beneficial and of mutual interest to both the office and the intern.

Applicants with a background or interest in proposal development, grant and contract administration, project management, finance, accounting, or information systems are encouraged to apply. No specific academic background is required. A minimum of 4-6 weeks and at least 15-20 hours per week is required.

2. OSP Overview

Services Provided

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) provides assistance to Smithsonian staff who are seeking, or have obtained external funding for sponsored projects. A “sponsored project” is a research, education, exhibit, training or other activity that receives partial or full funding though the mechanism of a federal or non-federal grant or contract. OSP assists with the acquisition and use of grant and contract funding for Smithsonian research, education and training. Assistance is provided to Principal Investigators (individuals seeking grants or contracts), administrative units, and central management staff.

Types of Work

Principal pre-award functions include:

  • Advising on funding availability and sources
  • Assisting with proposal preparation and submission, including meeting sponsor and Smithsonian requirements, and development of the budget
  • Reviewing and negotiating the terms and conditions of a proposed award and accepting the award on behalf of the Institution
  • Providing advice and assistance in development of the Institutions’ research policies.

Principal post-award functions include:

  • Monitoring sponsored project financial management activities of all grants and contracts
  • Providing advice and problem resolution services to Principal Investigators
  • Serving as the official Smithsonian audit liaison with auditors of government agencies, private foundations, and corporations for grants and contracts.

The office is also responsible for preparing, negotiating, and applying the Smithsonian’s indirect cost rates for grants and contracts.

Sample of Sponsors OSP Works With

  • Academy of Natural Sciences
  • Carnegie Corporation
  • Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • General Electric Foundation
  • IBM Corporation
  • Mellon Foundation
  • NASA
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • National Geographic Society
  • U.S. Department of Education
  • White House Office
  • World Wildlife Fund

3. Former Intern Projects


  • Researched funding sources
  • Assisted in the administration of grant/contract funds
  • Reviewed draft grant applications
  • Developed Principal Investigator’s Guide
  • Produced Guide for Financial Managers

Finance and Accounting

  • Prepared grant financial reports
  • Reconciled accounts
  • Closed out funds
  • Executed post-award measurements

Public Relations/Marketing

  • Developed training ads and schedules
  • Publicized funding opportunities
  • Coordinated Collaborative Workshops


  • Designed web page
  • Created grants database


4. Application Procedures

Use the Smithsonian's Online Academic Appointment system to apply for OSP internships: SOLAA.


There are no deadlines. Applications are reviewed throughout the year.