Director, Office of Sponsored Projects


The Director is responsible for setting the vision and values, mission, goals, and objectives of the Office of Sponsored Projects consistent with those of the Smithsonian. The incumbent reports to the Chief Financial Officer.

The Office of Sponsored Projects (OSP) provides administrative, financial, and technical support services to educational, museum, research, and scholarly units that seek and receive sponsored project funding. OSP serves as Institutional liaison and primary contact with external funding and audit organizations. The Director is responsible for maintaining central financial and data management systems, policies, and procedures that support sponsored project administration and for planning, directing, and leading sponsored project activities and services.

The Director has delegated authority from: (1) the CFO to contractually bind the Smithsonian by receiving and executing incoming grants and contracts, and to sign and validate documents related to financial administration of incoming grants and contracts; and (2) to act as Contracting Officer to contractually bind the Smithsonian by awarding subawards in furtherance of prime contracts and grants received from external sponsors.


Office Management and Leadership. Directs and leads office operations and systems consistent with principles of integrity, good business practices, and external requirements. Informs senior management of significant management, resource, or precedent-setting issues and of significant program initiatives. Monitors, evaluates, and revises work processes to ensure organizational requirements and objectives are continually met through a quality and customer service focus. Maintains effective internal controls and responds on a timely basis to audit recommendations.

Institutional and Office Planning. Sets vision for sponsored projects administration. Develops goals and objectives for the office and for individual staff members. Contributes to institutional planning as a member of Under Secretary’s staff planning team and financial leadership team. Develops and evaluates work processes and guidelines to meet requirements of customer and organizational objectives.

Policy Analysis and Development. Sets direction of sponsored project policy and practice for the Smithsonian. Researches, develops, and recommends changes in policies and practices to senior management, including strategies and plans for implementation. Ensures that policy directives are current. Keeps serviced organizations and customers informed of policies, providing guidance as required.

Financial Management. Establishes office budgets and resource allocations consistent with office plans. Manages all office funds by adhering to sound financial management and Smithsonian requirements. Operates within budgets and ensures that control and record keeping systems are used to monitor and document expenses.

Human Resource Management. Provides leadership, direction, and feedback to staff. Delegates work and monitors work progress. Oversees recruitment, hiring, training and development of staff. Manages performance through appropriate rewards and corrective action. Ensures staff is adequately trained to perform assigned tasks and provides training opportunities for growth. Creates a working environment where teamwork succeeds. Fosters mutual respect and concern among staff and customers by creating an environment of continuous learning, involvement and belonging. Promotes the achievement of goals and objectives of the Smithsonian’s cultural diversity and equal opportunity programs. Advances the Smithsonian’s goals of achieving workforce diversity through recruiting, training, and developing career opportunities as well as increasing business relationships with firms owned by women, minorities, and persons with disabilities.

The Director has dual technical responsibilities as an office director providing: 1) services that support programs of museums, research institutes, and offices; and 2) financial management responsibilities and accountabilities to Smithsonian central management, including cash management and indirect cost calculation.

Provides leadership in setting the direction of sponsored project administration, policy, and practice for the Smithsonian as a whole. This includes researching, developing, and recommending changes in policies and practices to improve Smithsonian sponsored project activities, advising senior and unit management on issues, and initiating new concepts and theories of research management and sponsored project administration.

Stays current with relevant laws, regulations, and standards, analyzing them to determine their applicability and impact on the Smithsonian, and takes action to assure the Smithsonian stays in compliance.

Responsible for maintaining efficient and cost-effective internal controls for sponsored project activities to reduce unallowable costs.

Oversees sponsored project pre-award functions which include identification of funding sources, proposal preparation and submission, contract negotiation, and assurance that proposal content meets all internal and external requirements.

Has Institution-wide authority as Contracting Officer for grants and contracts. As such, the incumbent signs proposals and accepts awards on behalf of the Smithsonian and develops, approves, and signs subcontract documents to perform scopes of work under grant and contract agreements.

Oversees sponsored project post-award activities including amendments to agreements, required expenditure approvals, assistance to principal investigators and unit administrators, closeout of terminated agreements.

Oversees cash management of sponsored project agreements, including the preparation of billing, financial reports, letters-of-credit, and deposit of payments.

Oversees an effective indirect cost system, assures accurate rate calculations that are supported by the accounting systems and oversees negotiation of rate agreements with cognizant audit agencies.

Assures effective liaison and issue resolution with external funding sources, contracting officers, auditors, cognizant audit agencies and others.


Applicants must clearly demonstrate the necessary level of managerial and leadership skills and competence to perform successfully in this position. This includes a Bachelors’ degree in Business, Finance or an applicable subject matter field, or a combination of education and appropriate experience that provides knowledge comparable to that normally acquired through successful completion of a four-year course of study in an applicable subject matter field.



In addition, applicants must have one year of specialized experience at or equivalent to the GS-15 level. Specialized experience is defined as the demonstrated knowledge and leadership skills as it relates to managing a sponsored office or program of a large museum, cultural or educational institution, nonprofit, or a significant department/division within a larger entity.

The applications that meet the basic qualifications will be evaluated further against the following criteria:

1. Knowledge of sponsored projects accounting practices in a nonprofit setting, including cash management and indirect cost calculation.

2. Skill in the management and execution of a sponsored projects system for an organization with several subordinate organizations with diverse program needs and or multiple funding streams.

3. Knowledge and skill in managing a sponsored projects function including goal setting, establishing metrics and introducing policies and procedures to improve efficiency.

4. Skill in leading, supervising, and managing a multi-disciplined and culturally diverse workforce, including fostering teamwork and high morale, attracting, retaining, and mentoring staff, fellows, interns, and volunteers, and implementing EEO/Affirmative Action policies and programs.  This includes a demonstrated ability to establish a strong team environment.

Contact Information

Smithsonian Institution



600 Maryland Avenue SW
Suite 5060
Washington , DC 20024


Background Information

4-Year Degree


  • Non-Profit
  • Administrator or Administrative
  • Grants and Contracts
  • Sponsored Projects/Programs

Authorized to work in the US


Target Job Information

$145,350 -

  • Full Time