GAP 200.372, Purchasing Goods on Sponsored Funds

  1. Purpose
  2. Micro-Purchases (<$10,000)
  3. Small Purchases ($10,000-$250,000)
  4. Ordering Process – SAP Buy@Duke
  5. Special Commodities Approval Process
  6. Federal Regulations


This procedure describes the methods and operational procedures associated with purchasing goods and other materials from sources external to Duke University on reportable awards. Reportable awards are projects where invoices and financial reports are submitted by an institutional office (OSP or TBS); and are represented by the 20x-28x, A03, and 30x-38x WBS element ranges.

This procedure relies upon knowledge of Duke’s Purchase Orders (POs) and the PO Approval Process. These use Buy@Duke, a web-based procurement system, which is fully integrated into the SAP financial system portal (Duke@Work). In this system, initiators will create shopping carts, which then pass through funding source (project) and institutional approval points through workflow within Duke@Work.

By using established workflow approval paths in Duke@Work, academic units are able to establish internal protocols, spending limits, and roles; therefore, this GAP refers to the roles of Shopper, Submitter, and Approver, roles that may or may not be filled by Grant Managers (GMs) or Principal Investigators (PIs). However, as noted in the Faculty Handbook, the PI bears primary responsibility for the financial management of a sponsored project. The Duke Procurement Services website contains forms and descriptions of how to procure and pay for goods and services at Duke University.

Note: The Office of Export Controls provides assistance with activities in embargoed or sanctioned countries, as financial transactions in these countries may be restricted. When making purchases in these countries, please consult the Office of Research Support (ORS) website or contact the OEC at


Micro-purchase procedures are appropriate for purchases when the aggregate total cost of the item does not exceed the micro-purchase threshold (MPT) (currently set at $10,000 per the Federal FY2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)). These purchases do not require competitive bids if the academic unit finds the price to be reasonable and allowable under Duke’s costing GAPs, such as GAP 200.320 Direct Costing on Sponsored Funds. If the purchases are allowable, the Buy@Duke Carts are routed through appropriate Shopper, Submitter, and Approver workflows as dictated by the academic unit practices.

III. SMALL PURCHASES ($10,000 - $250,000)

Small purchase procedures are appropriate for purchases at or above the MPT ($10,000), but below the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) (currently set at $250,000 per the FY2018 NDAA). This can apply to the purchase of:

  • an item whose individual value exceeds the MPT;
  • an item whose aggregate total cost exceeds the MPT; or
  • an asset under construction, where the aggregate total of the component parts is determined to exceed the MPT

Please note that purchases of an identical item should only be split between Buy@Duke carts when the scientific programmatic needs of the project require multiple purchases over a period of time. In these scenarios, GMs should proactively work with Procurement Services and their OSP liaison to determine the appropriate procedures.

On purchases exceeding the MPT, the UG requires projects to solicit or collect price or rate quotations from an adequate number of qualified sources. In order to meet this requirement at Duke, a minimum of three (3) price or rate quotations must appear in the Notes and Attachments section of the Buy@Duke shopping cart. Price or rate quotations may take the form of bids, proposals, online listings (screenshot required), or another form approved by the Procurement Office.

If a minimum of three price or rate quotations are not provided, or if the lowest price quote is not selected, a completed Sole Source Justification / Price Quote Selection form as applicable and described in GAP 200.101, Sole Source Justification for Purchases on Sponsored Funds must appear in the Notes and Attachments section of the Buy@Duke cart.


Purchases of more than $250,000 require coordination with Procurement Services. Please contact the Director of Procurement Services for further information.


As referenced in Section I, the process for purchasing goods and other materials from sources external to Duke University on reportable awards relies upon knowledge of Buy@Duke and the PO process. Below are the various steps that will occur when using this system to purchase goods and other materials, depending upon the items being purchased and sponsor requirements:

  1. A shopper creates a Cart in Buy@Duke, and, following appropriate academic unit workflow and purchase procedures, receives approval and submits for further review as necessary.
  2. If required, SAP Buy@Duke system will automatically route a Cart to the appropriate office, based on the nature of the goods being purchased, as applicable. These offices (Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP), OESO, DLAR)  will review for compliance with the terms of the award, and appropriateness of the WBS element and G/L. If the Sponsor required prior approval for the purchase, documentation of this approval should be included with the Cart. Once the Cart has received approval from all relevant offices, it then routes to Procurement Services. (see Section VI below for complete details on these special purchases)
  3. Procurement Services reviews the Cart to ensure compliance with University and sponsor purchasing procedures. Upon review and action, Procurement Services will issue a PO.


The procurement of certain items will require additional documentation and additional approvals beyond existing grant and departmental SAP Buy@Duke workflows. If these goods are purchased using sponsored funds from reportable awards, GMs and PIs must ensure the appropriate documentation is attached to the Buy@Duke cart before submitting it for review:

  1. Capital Equipment
    If the purchase is a Capital purchase of $5,000 or greater, the Equipment Screening form must appear in the Notes and Attachment section of the Cart. For further instruction, consult GAP 200.080, Equipment Screening and Shared Use on Federal Sponsored Projects.

  2. Radioactive Substances
    The Radiation Safety Division of Duke’s Occupational & Environmental Safety Office (OESO) must approve purchases of radioactive substances on sponsored funds. Carts with radioactive substances must include the Radioactive Material Order form, complete with authorized users names and numbers. Radiation Safety is responsible for submitting the PO to the vendor, receiving the radioactive materials, and delivering the materials to the Authorized Users indicated on the Order From. For more information, consult the OESO website.

  3. Live Animals
    The Division of Laboratory Resources (DLAR) must review all Buy@Duke Carts for live animals using sponsored funds. Carts with live animals must also have the Animal Order Request form attached. DLAR is responsible for submitting the PO to the vendor, receiving the live animals, and distributing the animals to the individuals listed on the Order Request. For further information, consult the  DLAR website.

  4. Controlled Substances for Animal Use
    DLAR also serves as the purchaser of controlled substances for animal use. Procedures for ordering controlled substances are located on the Duke Animal Care and Use Program website, under the title "Controlled Substance Procedure – Controlled Substance Use and Management Procedures."


This GAP reflects the provisions of the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards, 2 CFR Part 200, otherwise referred to as the Uniform Guidance. The UG became effective as of December 26, 2014, and all awards issued on or after this date must be managed in accordance with its provisions. It is important to verify the applicable regulations for an individual award, which may be found in the Award Notice issued by the funding agency.

These guidelines pertain to federally sponsored projects and should be used as guidance for all sponsors unless specifically addressed in a non-federal sponsor’s policies and/or procedures.

This GAP supersedes previous GAP versions, Duke Policies, Guidelines, etc.