This page provides information to researchers relating to the Purchasing of Equipment from grants provided by Research Councils UK (strategic partnership of the UK's seven Research Councils: AHRC, BBSRC, EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC and STFC), Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Wellcome Trust. It also includes specific University internal conditions for purchases made for HEFCE CIF projects.
In all cases your Key Purchaser should be contacted for further guidance on how to proceed in general and in accordance with the University’s wider policies and procedures.
For purchases over £100,000 (excluding VAT) the Procurement Department (email@example.com) must be involved, and above the EU threshold the purchase must be tendered by open competition and advertised in the European Journal.
Link to EU
The following information is provided for those who would like
greater detail, and it is stressed that either your School Key Purchaser
or the Procurement Department will be able to provide advice and
support as required.
1. Research Council UK
Since 2005 the UK Research Councils have adopted a harmonised set of core terms and conditions for those research grants funded on the basis of full economic costs (fEC). These terms and conditions were revised in the Spring of 2008 in the light of experience with fEC and other developments, and combined the terms and conditions for Research Grants with those for Fellowships into a single harmonised set.
These terms and conditions were revised again (wef 01 October 2009) to incorporate changes to the following Grant (including fellowships) Conditions. The conditions that have been changed are GC1/2/3/5/6/7/24.
The core grant conditions, in respect of research equipment purchases, are as follows:
“The procurement of equipment, consumables and services, including maintenance, must comply with all relevant national and EU legislation and the Research Organisation's own financial policy and procedures. Accepted procurement best practice in the higher education sector must be observed. For all equipment and services where the contract value is more than £25,000, excluding VAT, professionally qualified procurement staff must be consulted before the procurement process begins, and, where appropriate, at the market research stage, and must approve the order/contract before it is placed with a supplier.” ENDS
Best practice guidance is provided below
University of Nottingham - Research Innovation Services
2. Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)
HEFCE Guidance to Research Funding
3. The Wellcome Trust
The Wellcome Trust's equipment procurement grant conditions were amended in January 2010 and apply to all organisations.
Link to grant conditions
4. Best Practice Guidelines
5. Sustainable Procurement considerations
Procurement is specifically identified as one of the key ways in which the sector can deliver sustainable development.
You are asked to ‘make sure that all procurement practices reflect social and environmental as well as economic costs’. This means findings ways to reduce the environmental and social impact your procurement decisions.
This can typically mean questioning:
What you buy
Is there a less environmentally damaging alternative?
Is there a more energy efficient product available?
Is it CE marked?
Do I need to buy it at all – can I re-use / share existing/other equipment?
How you buy it
Do I need to travel far/ at all to conduct product evaluation demonstrations
Do I need a special delivery service?
Who you buy it from
Has the supplier any environmental convictions?
Buying more sustainably can benefit the university in a number of ways, such as saving money, reducing risk of pollution and prosecution and enhancing our reputation.
6. Self Assessment - How can I assess whether I am a good purchaser?
Good purchasing guide
I will know:
When and how to get written quotation requests
When and how to use sealed bid tender process
How to evaluate bids received
How to calculate whole life costs/total cost of ownership
When and how to consider social and environmental as well as economic costs in my bid evaluation and decision making process
How to record purchasing decisions against the selection criterion I issued with my request for quotations/tenders
Procurement Department manages purchases above EU threshold and MUST be involved above £100k
How to treat suppliers equitably and transparently throughout the entire procurement process
How to request prior approval for policy exception to obtaining at least three competitive bids ‘ sole source/single source’ equipment and
Be aware of my Role and Responsibilities and of all involved in purchasing (Principal Investigators (‘PIs’), Key Purchasers, and Procurement Department)
7. Further Governance and Controls
Those supporting PIs in managing their projects should refer to the following information.
Intellectual Property Rights, partnership/collaborations, patents and other further technical commercial guidance please contact Research Innovation Services (‘RIS’)
If you would like greater detail about any aspects of the procedures for managing and recording project costs please contact your local Finance Adviser.
For information about procurement procedures contact Procurement