Welcome to Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA)-Purchasing Department. This program is designed to provide campus end users with definitions, rules, guidelines, procedures and information.
Sponsored Programs Administration-Purchasing would be glad to arrange classes for your department to provide a more in-depth overview of the purchasing function.
I. Getting Started
II. What do you want to buy?
Campus Stores and Service Centers
Cell Phones, PDAs and Mobile Communication Devices
Chemicals and Gases
Document/File Archiving Services
Editorial Design and Graphic and Fine Art Services
Education and Training Services
Furniture and Furnishings
Industrial Cleaning Services
Public Utilities and Public Sector Related Services
Security and Safety Services
Storage and Warehousing
Temporary Personnel and Administrative Services
III. Procurement Processes
Invitation for Bid
Office of General Services (State) Contract
Request for Information
Request for Proposals
Request for Quotes
Terms and Conditions
V. Regulations and Guidelines
Debarment and Suspension
Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise
VI. Receiving and Payment
VII. Post Procurement
Requisitioning: The requisition begins the procurement process. Sponsored Programs Administration (SPA) has created a web-based requisition allowing end users to complete the document on their desktop, print and submit via email to ResearchPurchasing@albany.edu or fax to 518-442-5208. The purchase requisition should provide detail such as manufacturer, model number, vendors who can supply the product and it should note any required features/specifications. The information provided on the requisition should be detailed enough to ensure that the award can be made to a vendor meeting all of the features/specifications. Any missing information will result in a delay in processing. If a fax requisition is submitted, do not submit the original requisition as a follow up as duplication of the purchase could result.
Once the requisition is received, a Grants Administrator reviews the request to ascertain if a number of required factors are met; including the availability of funds, authorized signatory, and the appropriateness of the expenditure.
If the terms of the grant or contract do not provide for the specific purchase being requested, it will be necessary to obtain either sponsor or institutional approval.
Time Savers: The procurement process is highly regulated and complex but there are steps that can be taken to speed up the process. These steps include
- Verify that funds are available prior to requisition submittal
- Have an authorized signatory on the account sign the requisition.
- Enter a specific date for delivery.
- Complete the requisition online (and email to ResearchPurchasing@albany.edu).
- Include sufficient detail in the description, including need by date.
- Attach any supporting documents, quotes, or agreements.
- Submit all documents requiring a signature to SPA MSC 100A or ResearchPurchasing@albany.edu.
- Contact Sponsored Programs Administration in advance with questions.
What do you want to buy?
Below are brief descriptions of a number of the commonly ordered items.
Animals: The purchase and use of live, vertebrate animals for research at educational institutions is subject to state and federal regulation. Anyone wishing to use or house live vertebrate animals at the University for research or testing must have that use reviewed and approved by the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) prior to any activities taking place.
After IACUC approval, animals may be ordered by sending a Purchase Requisition to Laboratory Animal Resources for approval. Investigators may not place orders directly with a vendor, nor will purchases be executed without prior approval from the Laboratory Animal Resources.
The Purchase Requisition must include:
- the number of animals to be ordered
- the species
- specific requirements such as age, sex, timed pregnancies, etc...
- preferred vendor
- requested delivery date
- the account number to be charged
- and the approved protocol number
Laboratory Animal Resources will review the requisition to ensure that an approved protocol exists, and that the number of animals does not exceed the approved number. Once the request is reviewed and approved, the Requisition will be forwarded to Sponsored Programs Administration for execution of the purchase.
For more information, contact the Laboratory Animal Resources Facility at 518-437-4417 or e-mail Antigone McKenna, DVM at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Appliances: Some specific lab situations require the purchase of refrigerators and freezers. Personal use appliances usually found in kitchens cannot be purchased using Research Funds unless certain criteria are met. Kitchen appliances require prior approval by the Purchasing Associate based on a justification that meets established sponsor and/or OMB guidelines.
Campus Stores and Service Centers: Purchases made from Campus Stores and the University's Service Centers do not require quotations or bids since the goods have been obtained through competitive pricing or through state contracts. These orders are to be placed directly with Campus Stores or the University's Service Centers.
Cell Phones, PDAs, and Mobile Communication Devices: Mobile Communication Devices may be purchased from the NYS Office of General Services Contract under the comprehensive telecommunications contract. Vendors offer plans to cover local, long distance and text and other services. If a signed agreement is required, the user must send the agreement to SPA for review and signature by the Associate Director. Before ordering a cell phone the purchaser should review their department and/or sponsor's policy on cell phone use. Cell phones will only be purchased by SPA for business use.
The disposal of mobile communications devices, either as surplus or scrap, requires the completion and submission to Asset Management of a Property Status Change Request Form containing an attestation that the data contained in the item has been erased and that it cannot be retrieved.
Chemicals and Gases: Chemical and gases purchased for lab or classroom use can be made via the online vendors, or with a requisition. SPA provides copies of all hazardous material orders and Material Safety Data Sheets to the Office of Environmental Health and Safety who is responsible for campus compliance with chemical safety regulations.
Document/File Archiving Services: The University utilizes off-site paper records storage. Charges for these services are billed monthly and charged directly to the account provided at set up and registration for your department.
Document Imaging: Document imaging services can be procured through a preferred source, NYS Industries for the Disabled, or a Request for Proposal may be done in accordance with Research Foundation purchasing guidelines.
Editorial, Design, Graphic and Fine Art Services: The University has an Office of Communications and Marketing which SPA utilizes when acquiring outside graphic and design services; including logos.
Education and Training Services: Training services may be procured through a Request for Proposal process.
Environmental Services: Environmental services such as Recycling, Hazardous Waste Removal, and Emergency Environmental Spill Response are procured through SPA and require the establishment of formal contracts following a required procurement process.
Freight: The Research Foundation takes advantage of an OGS established state contract for the general delivery of domestic packages and for international packages. These services and similar package delivery services, excluding those sent through the U.S. Postal Service, are delivered by the carrier directly to the ordering department.
Furniture and Furnishings: Prior to purchasing furniture, please review the Asset Management web site for available surplus furniture and equipment. Before ordering Furniture and furnishings requiring installation, it is important to contact the Office of Facilities Management to ensure that the proper safety and code requirements are met. The NYS Office of General Services has a large number of furniture providers under contract to meet your needs. Insurance requirements must be met. For further information in acquiring these forms, please contact SPA at 442-3196. Installation beyond normal inside delivery and setting in place is an open market purchase and will require formal bidding and contracting procedures before the work can begin.
Industrial Cleaning Services: Industrial cleaning services beyond what is provided by the Office of Facilities Management may be provided by the New York State Industries for the Disabled, a preferred source, or through a Request for Proposal or Invitation for Bid process.
Information Technology: There are a wide range of vendors who provide services under NYS OGS contracts from computers to telephones, assistive services, captioning, web conferencing and more. The site lists the commodities and services, as well and how to procure them. SPA is ready to assist you in developing a package for an Invitation for Bid or Request for Proposal.
When disposing of technological equipment, it is imperative that all information be removed from the piece of equipment prior to disposal. At the least, the cleaning of the hard drive is required regardless if the department scraps or surpluses a piece of equipment. A Property Status Change Request Form must be submitted to Asset Management with an executed attestation that the data contained in the equipment has been erased and cannot be retrieved.
Laboratory Equipment: Equipment for use in labs and classrooms can be procured through a New York State OGS contract and through our online science vendors. A purchase requisition needs to be completed if the dollar level is over $1,000 for equipment such as a freezer. A bid with detailed specifications can be done by SPA.
Lab Supplies: Lab supplies are items intended to be used in the research lab or classroom and have a useful life of less than one year. They include items such as glassware, reagents, trays, slides, tools, and other items used in the operation of a laboratory. Those items requiring special approvals such as radioactive materials, lasers, syringes, and live vertebrates (lab animals) may not be ordered using the online system.
To participate in this program, please complete the RF Online Order Form. Once access has been established, the vendor will notify you and provide you with user identification information and a password.
Maintenance Services: Computers, copiers, printers, scientific equipment, and building operating systems may require annual maintenance contracts for upkeep and repair.
SPA is responsible for negotiating all contracts and agreements, including equipment maintenance lease and rental agreements.
Moving Services: The Office of Facilities Management may be able to handle small moves, but for most projects, it will be necessary to procure the services of a moving company. For moving services related to Lab moves and equipment as well as office moves contact SPA.
Office Equipment: Office Equipment includes copiers, printers, scanners, and computers. Office Equipment can be purchased from the NYS OGS Contract or by Invitation for Bid.
All equipment purchases of $500 or more must be tagged by Asset Management. A new asset receipt form is to be sent to OEM upon receipt of the items.
Office Supplies: All orders for office supplies must be placed through one of the online vendor systems by departmental end users.
- Business Cards, Letterhead, and Envelopes: Currently Fantastic Graphics, Inc. is used for the printing of commonly used stationery products including letterhead, envelopes, and business cards. To place an order for these items, you must complete a RF Purchase Requisition. The layout and design of University and Research Stationary items cannot be altered or modified in any form without the prior approval of the Communications and Marketing Department. Stationery fonts, logos, and designs are all to be produced with adherence to the University Graphic Identity Manual.
- Paper: Office use paper (for copying, printing, etc.) can be purchased from one of the online ordering vendors.
Printing: The University's Rapid Copy Center, a unit of Institutional Services, provides printing services ranging from black and white copies to full color and bindery services.
If your needs are not met by the Rapid Copy Center or the online stationery site, SPA will need to contract with an outside vendor. The procedures for the procurement of printing services are the same purchasing guidelines that apply to all other purchases, including the following:
- An executed Research Funded Purchase Requisition detailing the items to be procured.
- Samples if available. Any changes to the sample must be clearly noted on the printed sample.
- Specifications. If no sample is available, a specification sheet of the proposed item is to be submitted. The department will be required to provide the technical aspects to printed products.
- Vendor Quotes. If providing quotes, be sure vendor quotes meets the sample/specifications provided.
- Specifications - Be as detailed as possible when writing the specifications for printed items. Be sure to include quantity required, paper, ink colors, binding/finishing and delivery instructions. If substitutes for paper or ink colors are acceptable, they must be noted with the specifications.
- Time Frame - Printing is not an overnight process. Be sure to plan for adequate lead-time for the processing of your requisition, quotations, and printing of your project. Some services and products require additional time or allow for manufacturing and completion of your products.
- Proofs - Requesting a proof prior to printing will add to production time.
- Quantities - Printing is a multiple process, the cost per unit goes down as the quantity goes up. Be sure to take into consideration your total needs, and storage capabilities.
- Delivery instructions - Be sure to include any specific deliver instructions that might apply. Addition charges could apply for orders not delivered on campus.
Public Utilities and Public Sector Related Services: SPA contracts with public transportation services and Public Utilities such as internet, telephone, broadcasting, and cable television services. These services must be procured through SPA.
Published Products: The Office of General Services has many Library publishers and subscription services on contract. Individual books may be purchased through the OGS Contract, the campus bookstore, from the publisher or through a distributor.
Security and Safety Services: Security and Safety services beyond what is available on campus through the Office of Public Safety or Office of Environmental Health and Safety are available, contact SPA.
Shredding: Secure Document Destruction services are a procurable service. Departments should send a purchase requisition to SPA for its fiscal year needs describing the size, location, and schedule of services.
Software Licenses: A large number of Software Licenses are available for purchase through the OGS catalog contract for software licenses. There are also OGS Contracts direct with software manufacturers for the products listed. Certain software packages are purchased in bulk by UAlbany Information Technology Services (ITS) and distributed for a fee. Software license terms including those found on web sites requiring acceptance (clickable agreements) are reviewed by SPA before signature and approval by the Associate Director.
Storage and Warehousing: For short and long term storage services are procurable services, please contact SPA.
Temporary Personnel and Administrative Services: Temporary staffing services are a procurable service. There are options available on the NYS OGS contract, or if this does not meet your need, procurement may be done.
Textiles: It is the policy of the University to require contractors, subcontractors and licensees to certify the adherence by manufacturers to labor standards in connection with working conditions, compensation, employee rights to form unions and the use of child labor.
This policy affects the University and Research Foundation's expenditures for textiles, apparel, and sports equipment. Vendors supplying the University and the Research Foundation with textiles, apparel or sports equipment are required to submit with their proposal a Vendor Certification of Compliance with Fair Labor Conditions. In addition, the Research Foundation follows regulations which requires all contractors to pay the prevailing wage and sets specific limitations on child labor in age and hours worked.
- Textiles/Apparel/Banners/Lab Coats: The University has certain policies, rules, and regulations that must be followed in the procurement of apparel items. These include any item that is woven or felted, including clothing, banners, bags, and sports apparel. All of the vendors that wish to provide these goods to the University must certify that they follow the Fair Labor practices. Without a Vendor Certification of Compliance with Fair Labor Conditions, the purchase cannot be made.
The University also protects the use of its graphic identity, logo, and word mark through the use of the Licensing Resource Group (LRG). Any product containing the University Designs, trademarks, service marks, logo, graphics, symbols, or other indicia must be from companies licensed by the Licensing Resource Group.
- This certification that is obtained by the vendor, assures the University that our guidelines are followed. The links to the University Logos, LRG and the vendors can be found at the following sites:
Transportation Services: General travel policies for Research Foundation related business can be found on the SPA web page. Bus transportation services must be procured by SPA and should include the size, type of buses and the tentative schedule. Parking and Mass Transit Services also provides Charter Services to University Departments.
Invitation for Bid: An Invitation for Bid is used for procurements where the needed commodities, services, or technology can be purchased from exact specifications and the award can be made based on lowest price or best value. An IFB describes the administrative process; defines specifications; establishes required delivery terms, bidder qualifications, method of award, and terms and conditions; and provides instructions for responding.
Office of General Services (State) Contract: The New York State Office of General Services (OGS) leverages New York State's buying power by combining state and local government agency requirements to establish contracts for considerable quantities. These contracts reduce administrative costs because OGS handles bid solicitation and evaluation, as well as contract development and management. Contracts for Commodities, Services, and Technology can be searched using the OGS search engine.
Access to the online ordering systems requires a user sign on and/or user password. A simple online registration process is necessary to acquire user rights. A similar online process is used to amend user rights for an existing sign on.
Please follow the instructions for either a new registration or to amend an existing registration. Click the submit button once you have supplied the required information. The information will be received in Research Purchasing where it will be reviewed and submitted to the selected vendor(s). If any anomalies are found with your submission, a staff member will contact you.
There are two types of registrations:
- New Registration: this is to be selected for first time registrations. First time registrants are (a) first time using this form; (b) adding a new Research funded account(s)),; (c) adding an additional online vendor.
- Amended Registration: this is to be selected for the following changes in your profile (a) name; (b) e-mail address; (c) phone number; (d) departmental change; (e) street address; (f) ship to location; (g) approver (now need one or the current one has changed); (h) account number(s).
You must be authorized to place orders on the accounts that you select. If you are not currently authorized to place orders for any accounts that you selected, please reach out to ResearchPurchasing@albany.edu for the Online Orders Account Authorization Form. Please have the Account Manager sign and date the form and send it to Research Purchasing
The procurement types that are currently available via an online ordering option are as follows:
- Industrial and Commercial Supplies and Equipment: To place an order for these items, from Grainger, you must complete an RF Online Order Form.
- Laboratory Supplies: The University offers desktop ordering of commonly used lab supplies. All orders for lab supplies may be placed through the online vendor system by the departmental end users. Items requiring special approvals such as radioactive materials, lasers, syringes, and live vertebrates (lab animals) may not be ordered using the online system.
- Office Supplies (Online): To participate in this program, you will need to complete the RF Online Order Form. When your registration with the vendor has been accepted, you will receive a system-generated e-mail with a username and a password. If orders require departmental approval, the departmental approver will need to register separately.
Request for Information: A Request for Information (RFI) is a research and information-gathering document used when you seek to learn about the options available for addressing a particular need or want to obtain information from vendors to help create viable requirements for a potential solicitation. An RFI does not lead directly to an offer being made to a vendor.
Request for Proposals: A Request for Proposal (RFP) is a type of procurement document used for procurements where factors in addition to cost are considered and weighted in awarding the contract and where the method of award is the "best value", as defined by the State Finance Law. An RFP is generally used for the procurement of services or technology in situations where price is not the sole determining factor and the award will be based on a combination of cost and technical factors (best value).
Request for Quotes: A Request for Quotation (RFQ) is a type of procurement document, which can be used when a formal bid opening is, not required (e.g. discretionary, sole source, single source, or emergency purchases).
Single Source: A single source procurement is a purchase from a supplier who is chosen without the need to solicit the minimum number of bids or proposals because of limiting circumstances (e.g., warranty restrictions). A written request for single source waiver must accompany the requisition.
Sole Source: A sole source procurement is a purchase from the only available supplier of the product or service. Therefore, no bids or proposals can be obtained. The procurement requires pre-approval of the Associate Director.
Contracts and Agreements
SPA reviews the terms and conditions of all contracts and agreements before they are signed by the Assistant Vice President for Sponsored Programs Administration/Deputy Operations Manager. Contracts and agreements entered into by the foundation may be signed ONLY by the Associate Director. Any other University employee who signs a contractor agreement may be held personally responsible for its performance (payment, liability, etc.) Formal contracts are required for all service agreements. Under no circumstance should work be authorized under contract until the contract has been approved and signed by all appropriate parties. SPA will assist you in the preparation and execution of these contracts.
The common types of contracts include:
Consultant Contract: Consultant contracts are processed in SPA. A consultant is an individual who, under written agreement signed by the Associate Director in advance of the commencement of the obligation, performs a service(s) to a particular department or unit. Services provided are typically task oriented, specific in nature and of a limited, short duration. Remuneration for the accomplishment of the service(s) is typically established as a set fee, not an hourly rate and may not exceed levels established by the Foundation. All agreements must be supported by proper documentation regarding selection criteria, description of services, payment schedule and reasonableness of price before the agreement is executed.
Expenditure Contract: An expenditure contract is an agreement between the Research Foundation and a vendor for compensation in exchange for services or commodities. Any dollar value threshold may require an expenditure contract.
Honoraria: SPA has established guidelines for the payment of honorarium. Lecturers, guest speakers, and performing artists providing up to $2,500 in services of a short duration of less than six consecutive days may be paid through the honorarium process without a contract. The University Honorarium Request Form must be submitted to SPA to initiate an honoraria payment.
Leases: The Research Foundation leases real property in multiple locations for various uses. The campus provides professional support in negotiating and executing lease agreements.
Maintenance Agreements: Maintenance Agreements must be reviewed by SPA and signed by the Associate Director. Maintenance Agreements should only be purchased for the current Research Foundation account term and should not be expended for future year expenses. Keep in mind that computers and printers may be able to be repaired on campus at the PC Service Center, Lecture Center SB 27.
Terms and Conditions: Any agreement including those that are found on web sites that require an affirmation of acceptance are reviewed by SPA to be sure that the terms are in compliance with the Research Foundation, sponsor, and/or federal guidelines. A contractual obligation should not be made by an individual but must be reviewed by SPA and executed by the Associate Director. Terms and conditions are most commonly found with maintenance agreements and software licenses in addition to standard expenditure contracts for goods and services.
Regulations and Guidelines
The following provides summaries of a number of the regulations and laws, which the Research Foundation is subject to. Most of the summaries contain links to the full text of the regulation with additional information being found on the Research Foundation site.
Debarment and Suspension: Debarment and suspension regulations apply to all agreements in excess of $25,000 including all subrecipients. Federal regulations prohibit, and vendors are required to certify, that neither their firm nor the principals of the firm are debarred or suspended from participating in federal non-procurement transactions. Vendors certify to this by completing the Debarment Certification form.
Insurance: Procurement regulations require evidence of various forms of insurance by vendors at the time a contract is entered into. The Research Foundation of SUNY, The State of New York, and the State University of New York must be listed as additional insureds on all procurements. The nature of the procurement will dictate the type and minimum level of insurance that is required.
Lobbying: On awards of $15,000 or more the Research Foundation is required to have all contractors file the required certification that it will not and has not used Federal appropriated funds to pay any person or organization for influencing or attempting to influence an officer or employee of any agency, a member of Congress, officer or employee of Congress, or an employee of a member of Congress in connection with obtaining any Federal contract, grant or any other award.
Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprise: When searching for minority and women-owned business enterprises SPA often utilizes the New York State Division of Minority and Women-Owned Business Development listing of NYS certified MWBEs.
Split Ordering: The practice of split ordering is defined as the procurement of commodities or services processed on various procurement documents in an effort to avoid thresholds and avoid appropriate procurement practices such as obtaining bids and advertising requirements. This practice is prohibited.
Threshold Requirements: The Research Foundation has established Federal and Non-Federal purchasing thresholds. The procurement threshold determines the steps that need to be taken to effect the procurement. The dollar amount of the procurement will drive the number and type of quotes, bids, or proposals sought.
|Methods of Procurement when using Federal or Federal Flow Through Funds
Total Purchase Amount
Requirement for Solicitations of Bids or Proposals
up to $10,000
|No requirement for solicitations of bids or proposals. When the same suppliers are used repeatedly or on an ongoing basis for various procurements within this range, pricing and quality of the goods and services must be reviewed periodically and the results maintained in a supplier procurement file.
$10,000 to $250,000
Solicitation of bids or proposals required, and procurement requires selection from a minimum of two written or verbal quotes.
Solicitation of written bids or proposals required and procurement requires selection from a minimum of three written bids or proposals. Also, requires a cost or price analysis which at a minimum should include making independent estimates before receiving bids or proposals.
|Methods of Procurement when using Non-Federal Funding Sources
Total Purchase Amount
Requirement for Solicitations of Bids or Proposals
up to $50,000
No requirement for solicitations of bids or proposals. When the same suppliers are used repeatedly or on an ongoing basis for various procurements within this range, pricing and quality of the goods and services must be reviewed periodically and the results maintained in a supplier procurement file.
$50,000 to $250,000
Solicitation of bids or proposals required, and procurement requires selection from a minimum of two written or verbal quotes.
Solicitation of written bids or proposals required, and procurement requires selection from a minimum of three written bids or proposals.
Receiving and Payment
Confirming Purchases: The failure to follow the Purchasing process may result in a violation of a Federal or sponsor or local guideline, regulation or requirement. As SPA monitors these guidelines, regulations and requirements, it is imperative that all Research Funded purchases be conducted through SPA. The violation of a guideline, regulation or requirement may result in a loss of funding and cancellation of the award. Additionally, purchases made outside of the purchasing process could become the personal liability of the individual making the commitment. If the terms of a grant or contract do not provide for a specific purchase, it will be necessary to obtain the approval of either the sponsor or institution.
Non-Procurable: Due to the nature of the selection process, some items are considered non-procurable, (i.e., fellowships and stipends). Departmental approved requisitions for these types of items should be sent directly to the Accounting Office to be matched to the vendor invoice and paid.
Asset Management: Manages the inventory of all assets items purchased by the campus regardless of funding source. Each item purchased with a value of $500 or more must be tagged by Asset Management. A New Asset Receipt form must be completed and sent to Asset Management for all assets valued at $500 or more.
Prior to the procurement of items in excess of $25,000, a search will be conducted of campus inventory by the Property Control Officer. The completion of the Equipment Screening Certificate is a necessary part of the process.