Purchasing Guidelines

All purchases made with Research Foundation funds must have a legitimate business purpose. To ensure quality service, maintain satisfactory relations with external suppliers, SJSU faculty, administrators, and principal investigators, the following ethical purchasing guidelines have been developed by the Research Foundation:

  • Give first consideration to the objectives and policies of the SJSU Research Foundation and SJSU.
  • Obtain the maximum value for each dollar.
  • Demand honesty in sales representation whether offered through oral or written statements, advertising, or product.
  • Grant all competitive bidders equal consideration; regard each transaction on its own merit.
  • Decline all personal gifts or gratuities.
  • The Title Of Ownership should list San José State University Research Foundation as the property owners for all major property purchases such as vessels, vehicles, etc. For tax purposes and school exemption, PIs and employees are not to purchase major property in their own names.
  • Accord a prompt and courteous reception to all who call on legitimate business.
  • Use only by consent original ideas and designs devised by one vendor for competitive purchasing.
  • The purchasing power of the Research Foundation shall not be used for personal acquisitions for faculty, staff or students.

Vendor Selection

It is the policy of the Research Foundation to treat all vendors and contractors fairly and impartially. To maintain integrity in all purchasing transactions and make every effort to avoid financial (actual or perceived) conflicts of interests. Vendor selection should be made from companies that do not provide economic benefit to Research Foundation employees or project staff.

Additionally, no contract should be established with parties listed on the U.S. Government Debarment list. The General Services Administration’s System for Award Management (SAM) list contains the names of parties that have been debarred, suspended, or otherwise excluded by federal agencies, as well as contractors who are ineligible under statutory or regulatory authority. Contractors with awards that exceed the small purchase threshold of the Research Foundation must provide the required certification regarding their exclusion status.

Purchase Orders

The Research Foundation purchasing department generates purchase orders (POs), officially authorizes the transactions, and has the sole authority to issue purchase orders. The document identifies a specific seller and provides:

  • descriptions
  • quantities
  • prices
  • discounts
  • payment terms,
  • date of performance or shipment
  • other applicable terms and conditions

When accepted by the vendor (seller), the purchase order becomes a contract binding on both the vendor and the Research Foundation.

How to Request a Purchase Order

When a vendor requires one or a specific purchase meets the PO criteria, you can request a Research Foundation purchase order by following these steps:

  • Complete and sign a Purchase Requisition Form [pdf].
  • Attach the quote from the vendor and any other supporting documentation to the form.
  • Forward the approved and completed form and supporting documents to the Research Foundation to your project manager.

Although the principal investigator (PI) functions as the purchasing agent for their project, they must not, under any circumstances, issue their own purchase orders.

PO Approval and Payments

The Sponsored Programs or Self-support Services manager will review the request and forward it to the purchasing team, who will review it, issue a purchase order, and then place the order by sending the PO to the vendor.

Following shipment of the product, the vendor invoice Research Foundation Accounts Payable; upon confirmation from the PI or project staff that the product was received, Accounts Payable will issue payment.

Special Note About Risk

Anyone entering into a purchase of goods or services without proper authority is unnecessarily exposing the Research Foundation to risk, assumes the risk of being held personally responsible for any and all charges.

Competitive Bidding

Effective July 1, 2018 the procurement thresholds and guidelines below apply to all purchases, including services, supplies, and properties as defined in Uniform Guidance policy. [pdf]

Price per unit: Include installation but exclude taxes, shipping, and maintenance.

Micro-purchases (<$10,000)

  • Price must be reasonable;
  • No cost analysis is required;
  • Basic allowability review is needed.

Small Purchase ($10,000 - <$250,000)

  • Price or rate quotation must be obtained from two (2) or more qualified sources;
  • Documented phone calls or web search results are required

Simplified Acquisition (>=$250,000)

Procurement by sealed bids:

  • Provide complete descriptions and realistic specifications to three (3) or more sources that are willing and able to provide goods or services.
  • A fixed-price contract will be awarded.
  • Vendor can be selected on price or other factors.

 Procurement by competitive proposals (RFP):

  • An RFP must be issued.
  • Evaluation factors and importance must be identified.
  • Issue RFPs to three (3) or more entities.
  • A written method of evaluation must be prepared in advance.

Procurement by noncompetitive proposals (sole source):

  • The item is available only from a single source;
  • The public exigency or emergency for the requirement will not permit a delay resulting from competitive solicitation;
  • The federal awarding agency or pass-through entity expressly authorizes noncompetitive proposals in response to a written request from the nonfederal entity; or
  • After solicitation of a number of sources, competition is determined inadequate.

For more information: