Procurement at the University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc.
To establish the parameters of a purchasing program that applies the best methods and business practices when acquiring goods and services using funds on deposit with the University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. (KUCR).
To University of Kansas employees using funds on deposit with KUCR.
This policy applies to the acquisition of: supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property, printing, certain leases, and services, including professional services paid for with funds on deposit with the University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. (KUCR). Purchases where more than fifty percent (50%) of the funding for a transaction is on deposit with the University of Kansas (KU) and purchases made with one hundred percent (100%) University of Kansas Endowment (KUEA) funds shall follow the purchasing policies for those organizations, unless otherwise specified in approved KU purchasing procedures.
It shall be the procurement policy of KUCR and KUCR Procurement Services to obtain all supplies, equipment, and services at the lowest cost that meet or exceed the customer’s specifications for performance, quality, and availability at the time of purchase. Competitive bids will be solicited whenever possible and practical and in compliance with all applicable federal regulations and KUCR policies.
KUCR places a high value on good business practices in the procurement of goods and services. KUCR is responsible for assisting researchers and their administrative units in conducting their investigations and in performing the mission of the university in the most efficient, ethical, and transparent manner possible.
KUCR shall communicate and collaborate with the University of Kansas to ensure that all procurement opportunities where mutual benefit can be obtained are achieved. Examples include participating in state sponsored contract development meetings, utilizing state contracts, and access to contracts and pricing agreements entered into by the University of Kansas whenever possible.
The establishment of this corporation grants authority to KUCR to implement policies regarding the acquisition of any supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property, printing, certain leases and services, including professional services, required by a state educational institution. The Board of Directors has directed the Vice Chancellor of Research as Chief Executive Officer of KUCR to develop and implement the policies required to administer and operate research procurement activities in accordance with all terms, conditions, and requirements detailed in Board policies.
The Chief Executive Officer has delegated all purchasing authority to the KUCR Chief Financial Officer (KUCR CFO) including the administration of policies and procedures consistent with the provisions of this policy. Regardless of funding source (KUCR or KU), employees of KU are subject to the University of Kansas Procurement Code of Ethics, the University of Kansas Individual Financial Conflict of Interest Policy and must comply with the Kansas Open Records Act.
All parties involved in the negotiation, performance, or administration of the acquisition of any supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property, printing, certain leases, and services, including professional services, required by KUCR and KU are bound to act in good faith. Any person employed by KU, who purchase supplies, materials, equipment, goods, property, printing, certain leases and services, including professional services, or is involved in the purchasing process for KUCR or KU, shall be held to the highest degree of trust and shall be bound to the University of Kansas Procurement Code of Ethics.
The University of Kansas Individual Financial Conflict of Interest Policy will apply to KU employees and defines the processes for articulating and resolving conflicts of interest at KUCR. When the KUCR CFO has reason to believe that a conflict of interest may exist, the KUCR CFO shall direct the affected department to comply with the procedures described in the Individual Financial Conflict of Interest Policy. Additional conflict of interest information can be found at the KUCR Conflicts of Interest webpage.
The competitive sourcing process is required where the value and/or nature of the product or service warrants it, and the product or service can be obtained from more than one source. Unless approved for sole source procurement or otherwise covered under existing contracts, all requisitioned products or services totaling more than $50,000, or as a system including multiple components, will be competitively sourced. See section 4.0 for further guidance.
KUCR Procurement Services encourages participation in the competitive sourcing process by as many qualified suppliers as possible. At least three proposals are required given the following limitations: time constraints, availability of qualified suppliers able to meet the specifications, and the opportunity for significant cost savings. All proposals and quotations received will be evaluated on the basis of quality, service, compliance to specifications, and price. All awards will be made in the best interest of KUCR. Any or all proposals may be rejected at the discretion of KUCR.
For many commonly used products and services, KU Procurement Services has negotiated contracts with a select group of suppliers on the basis of their competitiveness and ability to serve the needs of, and partner with, KU and KUCR. Such contracts (Mandatory Contracts and Preferred Agreements) have deep discounts and special terms and conditions not generally available from non-contract suppliers. Purchases from these preferred suppliers meet KUCR’s requirements for competitive sourcing so no additional bidding is required. To ensure that KU and KUCR continue to receive the maximum amount of pricing discounts and benefits available, departments are encouraged to utilize KU’s Mandatory Contracts and Preferred Contracts whenever possible. The list of these suppliers can be found at Procurement Services Mandatory Contracts and Preferred Contracts webpage.
Exceptions to the use of Mandatory Contracts and Preferred Contracts are permitted where the required commodity or service is not available through the authorized suppliers, or the department provides justification that the type available will not meet departmental business requirements.
The type and method of obtaining competitive quotes depend on the amount of the purchase as outlined below. The purchasing threshold requirements are based on the aggregate dollar amount as it relates to a specific supplier.
3.3.a. Determining Amount (“Known Need at the Time”). The “aggregate dollar amount” of purchases from a given supplier should be based on the “known need at the time.” When determining “known need at the time,” the following factors should be considered:
- Reasonably anticipated future need from the supplier;
- Use of a supplier within other projects within the department; and
- Prior 12 months aggregate expenditures to supplier.
Should multiple uses of a supplier lead to an aggregate dollar amount in excess of a given threshold, higher levels of Justification (including a formal bid process) may be required. The need for competitive quotes and/or a formal bid process may delay processing of the procurement and create delay for the project. For this reason, it is important to accurately anticipate use prior to engaging a supplier.
3.3.b. Purchases less than, or equal to $50,000 (“Micro-Purchases”). The purchase of goods or services with an aggregate dollar amount which does not exceed $50,000 are considered “micro-purchases.” Micro-purchases may be awarded without soliciting competitive quotations if KUCR considers the price to be reasonable.
3.3 c. Purchases greater than $50,000 but less than or equal to $250,000; (“Small Purchases”). The purchase of goods or services with an aggregate amount which exceeds the “Micro-Purchase Threshold” ($50,000) but does not exceed the “Simplified Acquisition Threshold” ($250,000) are considered “small purchases.”
Competitive quotes for Small Purchases may be obtained in an informal manner. For example, quotes may be obtained via advertisements, email from potential vendor, or verbal (but must be documented in writing).
Three competitive quotes are required, one from the recommended vendor plus two additional competitor quotes.
KUCR Purchasing will work with KU Purchasing to set up a Request for Proposal (“RFP”). Bids are publicly solicited and a firm fixed-price contract (lump sum or unit price) is awarded to the responsible bidder(s) whose bid, conforming with all the material terms and conditions of the RFP, is the lowest price.
Where specified in bidding documents, other factors including discounts, transportation costs, and life cycle costs must be considered in determining which bid is lowest.
Any or all bids may be rejected if there is a sound documented reason.
In cases where the terms contained in a grant or contract administered by KUCR are more restrictive than those stated in this policy, the terms contained within said grant or contract will govern and apply to any procurement made with funds from that grant or contract.
KUCR’s Procurement Policy adheres to the Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (commonly called “Uniform Guidance”), as promulgated by the United States Office of Management and Budgets (“OMB”).
The purchasing of material, equipment, supplies, and services costing more than $50,000 individually or in aggregate should be by competitive sourcing, regardless of KUCR funding source. However, circumstances may dictate forgoing the competitive sourcing process and purchasing from one unique supplier (sole/single source) for certain products or services, or the existence of an emergency situation. The documentation must show that an equitable evaluation has been made and that rejection of alternative suppliers or solutions is based on objective and relevant criteria. Or, in the case of an emergency where health and safety are at risk, a delay due to obtaining quotes will further worsen the situation. KUCR Procurement Services has the final responsibility for determining whether an exception can be made to competitive sourcing.
Sole Source is procurement in which only one vendor is capable of supplying the commodity or service. This may occur when the goods or services are specialized or unique in character. “Sole” means “the one and only”.
Instances when sole source purchasing may be applicable include the following:
- Procurement of support services in connection with the assembly, installation, or servicing of equipment or software of a highly technical or specialized nature and only one supplier has the capabilities.
- Procurement of parts or components to be used as replacement in support of equipment manufactured by a particular supplier, and such parts or components are only available from the original manufacturer.
- Procurement where only a single supplier in a market is licensed or authorized to service or sell a specific product line.
- The supplier or products specified are required by the funding agency of a grant or Federal contract. Use of a sole source in this situation must have authorization in writing from the granting agency. Being “written into the grant or proposal” is not sufficient documentation. KUCR Procurement Services requires an affirmative statement from the funding agency that “noncompetitive proposals are authorized”.
- Competitive sourcing is precluded because of the existence of patents, copyrights, or similar circumstances
Single Source is procurement in which, although two or more vendors supply the commodities or services, the department selects one for substantial reasons, eliminating the competitive bidding process. “Single” means “the one among others”.
Instances when Single Source purchasing may be applicable include the following:
- The requested product is an integral part or accessory to existing equipment.
- The service requested is for existing equipment which can only be completed by the original manufacturer or manufacturer’s designated service provider.
- The requested product or service has unique design, performance, and/or quality specification that are essential to a particular research protocol and are not available in comparable products.
- The requested product or service is essential in maintaining research continuity.
- The requested service or system requires a supplier with unique skills or experience.
In rare situations, competitive sourcing is not possible due to emergencies. Emergency situations are where health and safety of any person(s) or animal(s) are at risk and a delay due to obtaining quotes will further worsen the situation.
Emergency situations do not include (but not limited to):
- A rush because of an avoidable failure to plan ahead;
- End of the fiscal year procurements; or
- End of a grant/contract procurement.
When submitting a request to deviate from the standard competitive bid process, the requesting unit must complete the Sole/Single Source/Emergency Justification Form.
Completion of this form does not guarantee that KUCR Procurement Services will approve the request; approval will be considered under the guidelines in Section 4.1-4.3.
Used equipment is broadly defined to include “all equipment that is not new”. Used equipment is typically only available from one source and due to its nature is subject to immediate sale. As such, a competitive process is unlikely to produce a satisfactory result. Used equipment, however, can be a cost-effective way for departments to acquire equipment, and departments are encouraged to consider this option.
Refrigerator and freezer purchases for use in Laboratory, Teaching, and Research must be approved by the KU Department of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) before submitting the requisition or invoice.
Equipment and other assets purchased, or under the control of KUCR must be protected, preserved, and properly accounted for. Refer to the KUCR Property Management webpage for more information.
Additional care must be given for all purchases related to grants and projects, as they may have specific requirements beyond KUCR’s procurement policies. The two primary situations to consider include:
- Documentation of approval from granting agency for equipment purchases within the last 90 days of the grant; and
- Supporting documentation for all purchases that are split funded among two or more grants or projects.
A review of questionable purchases should be reviewed with KUCR Post Award staff prior to purchase.
In addition, a separate KUCR Cost Accounting policy outlines the allowability and appropriateness of expenditures charged to a sponsored project, PI account or other KUCR service accounts.
All policies and procedures relating to business travel can be found here at the KUCR Travel Expense Reports webpage.
KUCR is committed to the principle of diversity and equal opportunity in all of its endeavors and applies this principle in its procurement activity with the objective of encouraging participation by qualified suppliers categorized as: small business, disadvantaged, veteran, minority or women-owned enterprises. KUCR believes that strengthening and expanding its supplier based in these business classifications not only contribute to lowering our operational costs, but also improves the overall health of the greater business community within which we exist. It is a practice of KUCR to actively identify and solicit qualified small, disadvantaged, veteran, minority or women-owned businesses and to provide and promote equal opportunities for such suppliers.
The KUCR CFO may issue a written determination to suspend a vendor from doing business with KUCR pending an investigation to determine whether cause exists from debarment in accordance with approved purchasing procedures.
A written notice of the suspension, including a copy of the determination, shall be sent to the suspended vendor with a copy to the KU CFO/Vice Provost for Finance and the KU Chief Procurement Officer.
The suspension period will be effective upon issuance of the notice of suspension.
A vendor may be debarred for any of the following reasons, but not limited to:
- Conviction of a criminal offense in relation to obtaining or attempting to obtain a KUCR contract or in the performance of such contract;
- Conviction under State of Kansas or Federal statutes of embezzlement, theft, forgery, bribery, falsification or destruction of records or receiving stolen property;
- Conviction under State of Kansas or Federal antitrust statutes arising out of the submission of bids or proposals;
- Failure to perform in accordance with the terms of one or more contracts following notice of such failure, or a history of failure to perform, or of unsatisfactory performance of one or more contracts; and
- The vendor is currently under debarment by any other governmental entity that is based upon a settlement agreement or a final administrative or judicial determination issued by a Federal, state, or local governmental entity.
Following a completion of the investigation to determine whether a vendor has engaged in activities that are cause for debarment, the KUCR Director-Budgets & Financial Services may debar the vendor for a period of time commensurate with the seriousness of the finding.
A written notice of the debarment shall be sent to the vendor. The notice shall:
- State the debarment period; and
- Inform the debarred vendor that any person(s) representing the debarred vendor during the debarment period may conduct no business with the University and that any solicitation responses received from the debarred vendor during the debarment period shall not be considered.
The debarment period will be effective fourteen (14) calendar days after the notice of debarment is sent to the debarred vendor.
The KUCR Director-Budgets & Financial Services is authorized to resolve, in accordance with approved purchasing procedures, any protests regarding any and all purchasing matters including, but not limited to:
- Any protest concerning the solicitation or award of a contract or purchase order; and
- Any controversy arising between KUCR and a contractor by virtue of a contract or purchase order between them, including, without limitation, controversies based upon breach of contract, mistake, misrepresentation, or any other cause for contract modification or rescission.
The KUCR Director-Budgets & Financial Services shall render a written decision regarding the protest within fourteen (14) calendar days after the protest and/or any subsequently submitted information is received. The KUCR Director-Budgets & Financial Services shall furnish a copy of the decision to the protestor in writing in accordance with approved purchasing procedures.
The protesting party may appeal the written determination of the KUCR Director-Budgets & Financial Services. If the protesting party desires to appeal, the protesting party must submit written request for appeal to the KUCR CFO within ten (10) calendar days after receipt of written determination of the KUCR Director-Budgets & Financial Services. The decision of the KUCR CFO shall constitute the Final Agency Order regarding the matter.
Procurement records are subject to disclosure pursuant to the provisions of the Kansas Open Records Act (see K.S.A. 45-215 et. seq).
Procurement records shall be retained and disposed of in accordance with applicable records retention policies as mandated by the funding agencies.
The University of Kansas Center for Research, Inc. (KUCR) is a not-for-profit research foundation that operates for the benefit of the University of Kansas (KU) under the administrative jurisdiction of the University of Kansas Office of Research. KUCR was incorporated in 1962 to develop and administer sponsored programs in engineering and related interdisciplinary areas at KU. Effective July 1, 1997, KUCR’s services expanded to encompass all sponsored programs conducted through the Lawrence campus.
03/02/2021: New policy uploaded into the Policy Library.