Buying Research Materials/Office Supplies

When you are buying research materials and/or office supplies, The University makes available two separate web-based systems to process these payments and the LBC provides training and support for the use of these systems:

  • GEMS – the University’s corporate credit card that works in conjunction with the web-based expense management system. The card provides faculty and staff with a convenient method of procuring and paying for travel expenditures and small dollar purchases.
  • Buysite -a web-based purchasing application that allows faculty and departments to make purchases from university’s authorized suppliers.

Faculty and staff may apply for a GEMS card which is a university issued credit card that eliminates the need to spend funds out-of-pocket. The GEMS card may be used for procurement and reimbursable expenses and typically has a $10,000 credit limit, plus a $500 single purchase procurement limit. This $500 limit applies to the purchase of goods but does not apply to other reimbursable expenses, such as business meals and travel.

The University has a rule prohibiting purchasing on one receipt any one item out of pocket that totals over $500 and requesting reimbursement (all travel arrangements being the notable exception). Please see policy below.

Please contact your Business Manager or Grants Specialist if you need to purchase goods that cost more than $500, reimburse students or visitors, or pay individuals for services. It is important to discuss these transactions before you incur the expense as these commitments may have tax implications that must be considered. Also, the documentation required to disburse funds to foreigners can be difficult to navigate. Therefore, asking questions early in the process is critical to a successful outcome.

To learn more about buying research materials, please contact SSD Local Business Center at and the LBC Business Manager assigned to your accounts will get in touch with you within two business days.