Purchasing Procedures

ERI Purchasing staff is happy to assist end-users with all aspects of purchasing and shipping.  Following are helpful links and policies.

Please note that you must OBTAIN A PURCHASE ORDER before placing an order. Any purchase or shipment, with billing to UCSB, which does not have a valid P.O. number is considered unauthorized by campus (see definition below) and the user may be responsible for payment.

When you place an order through ERI, our purchasing staff will confirm that there are adequate funds available, that the purchase is allowable under the rules of the grant, the agency and UCSB. Whenever you have questions, feel free to email us at purchasing@eri.ucsb.edu or call us at x4885.

General Purchasing Policies

The ERI Administrative team would like to make purchasing your supplies and equipment as simple as possible. In order for us to be successful in meeting your delivery request, we ask that you review the following text and let us know if you have any questions or need further clarification on this process. 

The ERI administrative office is open Monday through Friday 8 am-5 pm. When you plan to purchase supplies, equipment, or service on grant funds administered through ERI, please contact us. Please note the departmental purchasing function is a privilege granted by the Chancellor's Office and the Material Manager. Repeated occurrence of procurements not meeting the standards set forth by UC may result in certain consequences, up to and including revocation of all or part of the department's purchasing activities. Below are the guidelines for purchasing supplies, services, and equipment.

1.         All purchasing of supplies and equipment must be processed through the ERI office. This may be done via the campus Gateway system (https://gateway.procurement.ucsb.edu/Login.aspx) or, when utilizing a credit card or requesting a Federal Express shipment/Home Depot walk-in PO, via our on-line system (GUS). We strive to place orders within 24 hours of their receipt (e.g. the form has all the required information as well as all the correct authorizations), but request that you provide ample time for processing orders, except under emergency circumstances. This will allow us time to work with other campus departments (e.g. Purchasing) if necessary, and will decrease the need to expend additional funds for overnight shipping. Always provide a date needed (not ASAP) when a required delivery date is important, as well as the vendor name, phone number, fax number, address, and grant to be utilized for the purchase. Any change in a purchase order that has been placed must be coordinated through us and not directly with the vendor.

2.   Low-Value Purchase Orders:

a.         Orders for supplies (under $3,000 total), which are submitted to GUS and Gateway, must be placed by admin staff.

c.         Local pick-up (walk-in) purchase orders (under $3,000) are issued by administrative staff to specific vendors for items that are "needed immediately." For instructions for getting a walk-in PO, see Walk-in PO in Gateway above. Note that we use GUS for Home Depot POs, but that is an exception. Since P.O. numbers are assigned via a computerized system, making each number unique, you must OBTAIN A PURCHASE ORDER before making a purchase. Any purchase, with billing to UCSB, which does not have a valid P.O. number is considered unauthorized by campus (see definition below) and the user may be responsible for payment. After the purchase has been made, the RECEIPT MUST BE RETURNED TO ERI for processing. 

d.         Additional items may not be added to the purchase order without the approval of ERI staff. As additional items may raise OMB A-21 issues, or may not be appropriate for the grant covering the purchase, a phone call to x4885 verifying that changes to the order are auditable will address this issue. 

e.         The issuance of repeat orders on consecutive days to a vendor for the same materials or the issuance of multiple invoices by a vendor using two or more dates in order to circumvent the established limit is prohibited by UC policy and shall be considered cause for the withdrawal of purchasing authority.

Purchases and transactions not permitted under Low-Value Purchase Authorization:

a.        Inventorial equipment. This is defined as a single stand-alone hardware item valued at $5,000.00 or more (including tax), with a useful  life of at least one year

b.        Equipment rental in excess of 30 days or in excess of $3,000 fee

c.        Automatic External Defibrillators (AED)

d.        Personal items (also including equipment repairs on personal equipment)

e.        Animals

f.         Alcohol, beverages, and ethyl alcohol (except denatured)

g.        Radioactive materials

h.        Narcotics, controlled substances, DEA controlled chemicals and/or dangerous drugs

i.         Firearms,  explosives, ammunition

j.         Precious metals

k.        Vehicles (for personal transportation including trucks, cars, boats) and real estate rentals/leases - see BOAT CHARTERS & RENTALS below

l.         Construction, alteration, repair or improvement to any University structure (including floor coverings, fume hoods, slot hoods)

m.       Goods or services from any officer and employee of the University or from a near relative of any officer or employee

n.        Professional and Personal Services

o.        Bio-hazardous agents and Human tissues/fluids (bio-safety authorization required)

p.        Charters (air, land, or sea)

q.        Refrigerators or freezers

r.         Respiratory protection items, SCUBA regulators

s.        Bio-safety cabinets

t.         Catering

u.        Cellular phone services or pager services

v.        Compressed gasses

w.        Furniture

x.        Lasers

y.        Meals, travel, or entertainment

z.        Pesticides

aa.      Postage

ab.      Pressure vessels

ac.     Relocations: household or office moves

The above purchase transactions must be placed with the UCSB Purchasing department via ERI and may require approval of other UC departments such as Environmental Health and Safety, Equipment Management or Export Control.

3.         All equipment orders, orders of the controlled items listed above, and orders over $3000 if using Federal funds (NASA, NSF, etc.), or $5000 for non-federal funds,  must be entered to the Gateway system and routed through the UCSB Purchasing Department for processing. ERI Purchasing staff will assist with forms necessary for equipment purchases on Federal Funds. Please remember vendor names on the preliminary requisitions are only recommendations. Never commit an order directly with a vendor that should be placed by the Purchasing Department. 

4.         Repetitive items of supply, services, and repairs, which are needed over a stated period of time, require the initiation of a vendor blanket. Contact the ERI Purchasing staff to determine if your vendor blanket should be placed in Gateway or GUS. The vendor blanket number is applicable only between the research grant(s) and the specific vendor for the goods or services outlined in the initial vendor blanket authorization.

5.         Petty cash reimbursements can be made up to $150 and only when normal purchasing procedures cannot be followed. Anything over this amount should be purchased on a P.O. or it may be considered an unauthorized purchase (see definition below). Reimbursements to individuals for expenditures on behalf of the University must be supported by original receipts.

6.         A Gateway purchase order is required for each purchase at the campus bookstore. For most UCSB purchases we can use the Gateway Walk-in Form. This form must be entered into Gateway prior to purchase.

7.         Before renting a vehicle for transportation of equipment, be sure to coordinate through ERI. Additional insurance paid on a rental vehicle will not be reimbursed (please see the Travel Policy for current UC contract numbers or http://www.ucop.edu/ucophome/policies/bfb/g28summary.pdf). The individual renting the vehicle will be responsible for any additional insurance charges. Vehicles from Transportation Services should also be coordinated through ERi.

8.         General Administrative office supplies are considered appropriate to "A-21" funds or departmental funds only and cannot be purchased using extramural funds (with few exceptions). If you would like additional information on A-21 requirements, please let us know.

9.         Reprint and book orders must be submitted to ERI for processing. 


An AUTHORIZED PURCHASE is a purchase transaction in accordance with UC purchasing regulations. Generally, such a transaction is based on a purchase requisition for a specific item (or items) submitted to the Department for authority to acquire items from a specific vendor or a variety of vendors.

An UNAUTHORIZED PURCHASE is a purchase transaction made without proper clearance/authorization which is intended to be charged to University-controlled funds. An unauthorized purchase generally becomes evident after the fact through an invoice from the vendor. At that point, a confirming order must be submitted, accompanied by a statement explaining the circumstances of the purchase, together with an account of steps taken to avoid a repetition in the future.

Per UC policy, any individual who makes an unauthorized purchase is personally responsible for payment of the charge incurred, unless: a) The purchase does not exceed $2,500 and b) in the opinion of the material manager the price is reasonable and the circumstances relating to the purchase are justifiable. If the material manager does not consider the price reasonable or the circumstances justifiable, he/she may request the responsible person to return the item and have the charge canceled or he/she may ask that the individual pay the charge.