Research Procurement

“Research Procurement” refers to the purchasing of goods and services that are required to carry-out research activities. The Medical School utilizes the Purchasing Request Form (PRF), found in the M-Pathways Financials & Physical Resources System to document the request, approval(s) and receipt of research goods and services.

The Purchasing Request Form is utilized to ensure:

  • First-time quality
  • Compliance with sponsor and procurement guidelines
  • Facilitating exception-based reconciling
  • Supporting a paperless work environment

The Purchasing Request Form incorporates the use of Tier 1 users, the individual(s) delegated by a project director to initiate the procurement of goods and services for their project, and Tier 2 users, the individual(s) delegated by a department to procure the goods and services utilizing the appropriate buying method once the Request Form is approved.

Each department has service standards for the Purchasing Request Form and approval process. Make sure you are aware of your departmental process.

Submitting a Purchasing Request Form

Once a need for products/services is identified the Tier 1 user fills out a PRF in M-Pathways completing all required fields, as well as any optional fields based on departmental business practice.

Instructions for completing a PRF are available in the MyLINC document titled: Create an ePRO Purchasing Request

When the Tier 1 user Saves and Submits the PRF, the form routes for review and approval(s).

Reviewing A Purchasing Request Form

The Tier 2 user (or Financial Approver if applicable) is notified of the PRF by e-mail, and can navigate to the form via the Weblink, or through their FINPROD worklist. Upon receiving a PRF, the reviewer verifies: 

  • The order is placed within the allowable project period of the sponsored project being charged.
  • Adequate budget in the proper budget category exists, the cost is reasonable for the item being purchased and the item is allowable to the project. If there are discrepancies or questions, contact the SAPOC prior to approving orders.
  • Appropriate supporting document is included.

The reviewer determines whether additional approvals are required or, if necessary, denies and returns to Tier 1 with comment(s) for revision(s). The comments should be concise and should be considered auditable.

Completing A Purchasing Request Form

Once the PRF passes review the Tier 2 user:

  • Determines which of the appropriate Buying Methods to utilize to complete the request.
  • Procures the goods / services and enters the order information (requisition, shipping information, backorder information if applicable) on the Purchasing Request Form.
  • Approves the Purchasing Request Form.
  • Images the order confirmation as necessary.

When the Tier 2 user Approves the Purchasing Request Form an e-mail is automatically sent to the Tier 1 user that the Purchasing Request has been approved.

Receiving Goods

Upon receipt of the products/services the Tier 1 User:

  • Verifies that the correct products/services have been received and that they are not damaged and/or the order is complete.
  • Follows-up with appropriate parties if there are issues with the product or service.
  • Records the receipt of goods / services in M-Pathways. Instructions for recording the receipt of goods can be found in the Casual Receiving Step-by-Step Procedures.
Helpful Hints
All receiving is mandatory and must be done within 30 days or it will not be receivable in the system. P-Card purchases can’t be received via Manage Requisitions; therefore, an alternative process should be used to verify purchases on P-Cards have been received. It is recommended that your P-Card reconciler attach the packing slip or a verification e-mail that the goods were received to the transaction in Concur.

Procurement Reports

The following is a suite of procurement reports that can be run in the Query Manager to assist with monitoring procurement Users and procurement activity.

Unit administrators and supervisors are advised to run reports to “spot check” Purchase Forms not submitted, and Requisitions not received (see the Tools & Resources Section).

Helpful Hint
Report Form Navigation:
  • Wolverine Access
  • Faculty & Staff
  • M-Pathways Financials & Physical Resources System
  • Financials Homepage
  • GL Reports
  • Query Manager

Report Names: 

Procurement OARS Access

Tier 1 (Form Creator) Users:

PR FORM PURCH USER [Financial Administration]
PR CASUAL RECEIVING USER [Financial Administration]

Tier 2 (Procurement Approver) Users:

PR FORM PURCH APPROVER [Financial Administration]
Secondary Security Access [Request Comments]
FN User eRecon [Imaging]
ProjectGrantReports [M-Reports]

Procurement Receivers:

*This role is not automatically assigned with any of the other PR FORM PURCH roles and so must be requested in addition.  This role can be requested and removed via the OARS process. Users must be assigned either the PR FORM PURCH USER or PR EPRO USER role. 

Managing Procurement Approval Groups

Individuals with authority to Determine Approval Workflow and Manage Approval Groups are determined by the Department.

The Approval Group selected on a Purchasing Request Form determines the routing and approval path for the PRF.  Approval Group routing can be set to directly route to an Order Approver (Tier 2) or to route to a Financial Approver first and to an Order Approver once the Financial Approval is obtained. Individuals added to approval groups may have one or both of the following approval type roles: Order Approver and/or Financial Approver.

Approval Group: no Financial Approval Approval Group: with Financial Approval
  • Purchasing Request Form Submitted
  • Purchasing Request Form Submitted
  • Order Approver Reviews, Places Order & Approves PRF
  • Financial Approver Reviews & Approves
  • Order Approver Places Order & Approves PRF


Adding/Removing an Approver:

To approve Procurement Request Forms, Order and Financial Approvers need the Financials & Physical Resources Procurement role PR FORM PURCH APPROVER. This role is added or removed via the Online Access Request System (OARS)

Approvers need Secondary Security that establishes them as either an Order or Financial Approver (or both) for an Approval Group. When adding or removing the PR FORM PURCH APPROVER role, Secondary Security is added or removed in the Request Comments section. State the request is for Secondary Security and specify the Approval Group name(s) and approval type(s).

Screenshot of OARS, select PR Form Purch Approver (FIN)


Modifying an Approver

Adding or removing an individual that already has the PR FORM PURCH APPROVER role to an Approval Group is done by submitting a Secondary Security Only request in OARS. Under ‘Other’ select ‘Secondary Security Only – Financials & Physical Resources (OARS). In the Request Comments box, state the access request and specify the Approval Group Name(s) and approval type(s).

Screenshot of OARS, select Secondary Security Only – Financials & Physical Resources (OARS)


Ad Hoc Approver

Ad Hoc Approvers are not members of an Approval Group but may be selected to approve requests under very specific circumstances by either Tier 1 or Tier 2. The Medical School recommends this approach only when necessary as it’s not as streamlined as the other approval routing options. Ad hoc Approvers need the PR FORM PURCH APPROVER role and Secondary Security to approve Procurement Request Forms. The PR FORM PURCH APPROVER role and Secondary Security are requested and removed by submitting an OARS request. When submitting the OARS request, in the Additional Comments indicate ‘Required Secondary Security: Ad Hoc Approver Only’ and indicate if the approval is for Financial Approval, Order Approval or both Financial and Order Approval. 

Screenshot of OARS, add additional comments


Adding or Changing an Approval Group

In accordance with your departmental policy for managing Approval Groups, to add or change an Approval Group contact the ITS help desk at or 764-4357. When adding a new Approval Group include the desired name for the group, group description (60 char max), and whether or not the group uses the Financial Approver routing option. Include the names of the Order Approvers and Financial Approvers (if applicable) for the Approval Group. At least one Order Approver must be specified and, if opting into the Financial Approval model, at least one Financial Approver. When changing an Approval Group include the name of the Approval Group in the request. Approvers are removed from the approval group, but retain their PR FORM PURCH APPROVER role. To remove the PR FORM PURCH APPROVER role, submit an OARS removal request. When submitting add or change Approval Group requests, include a comment stating ‘please assign to FIN Tier 2’. 

Helpful Hint
Approval Group names in the Medical School begin with the prefix MS_(group_name)


Modifying an approval group description

To Modify An Approval Group Description, Contact the ITS help desk at or 764-4357. Include the name of the Approval Group and the new description and comment stating ‘please assign to FIN Tier 2’. 


Changing an Approval Group Routing Type

To add or remove Financial Approval routing to an Approval Group, contact the ITS help desk at or 764-4357. When adding Financial Approval for an Approval Group include a list of all Financial Approvers for the group. When removing Financial Approval routing from an Approval Group, indicate if current Financial Approvers in the group should be updated to Order Approvers or removed from the Approval Group. When submitting requests to Change an Approval Groups Routing Type be sure to include the Approval Group name and a comment stating ‘please assign to FIN Tier 2’.


Can’t remember your Approval Group Name?

Run M_PR_FORM_PURCH_APPROVAL_GROUP in the query manager for a list of approval group names and descriptions. Reference Material is available in My LINC by searching ‘Query Manager’


Can I use my PCard to purchase research supplies and services?

The PCard is intended for travel and for low-dollar, infrequent transactions per SPG 507.01. Low-dollar items may be purchased with the PCard if the following two conditions exist: (1) the item is not available from a U-M strategic contract or internal service provider; and (2) the supplier will not accept a purchase order and the purchase is necessary to the mission of the unit.

In many units, PCard use for research supplies and services is limited to individuals who have been designated as Tier 2. Concur items cannot be “received” in the system, and create additional administrative burden and transaction costs. As a result, PCard use should be limited as determined by your unit.

Why would a Reviewer deny a Purchasing Request Form?

Forms with missing information (catalog #, shipping location, short code, etc.) will be denied and returned to the Tier 1 to edit. Insufficient funds on a project grant, or an expense that is unallowable based upon sponsor guidelines are also reasons for denial. Tier 2’s will provide an explanation in the Comments section with the reason for the denial of any Purchasing Request Forms.

How do I make a purchase from eBay?

In general, purchases from eBay are discouraged because there is no protection for the purchaser. If the Tier 2 is unable to find a suitable alternate, use the following steps:

You 'buy' the item from eBay and then when you have to make payment you enter your P-card info into the PayPal check out. Procurement will not accept a PayPal receipt - only with a Concur report. Retain a copy of the order confirmation, detailing the items purchased and prices, to submit with Concur.

What is the process for purchases that require a Material Transfer Agreement (MTA)?

A Material Transfer Agreement must be completed as an UFA in eRPM prior to the order being placed. Follow your departmental process for completing UFA’s.

How do I order controlled substances?

Orders for controlled substances require a registration certificate from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Orders for schedule I and II controlled substances require completion of DEA Form-222 ( The form must be completed with no errors/missing information and copies 1 and 2 mailed to the vendor (see vendor website for address). Labs are required to maintain copy 3 of the form in their files. Orders for schedule III controlled substances require a copy of the DEA Registration form be faxed to the vendor (vendor will request the certificate and provide a fax number).

Where can I find more information about restricted items and special approval?

For more information, visit the U-M Procurement Services webpage on restricted purchases and special approvals.

Can I use multiple shortcodes?

Yes, the Tier 1 has the ability to add a separate shortcode for each item on the Purchasing Request Form. The “More Information” box can be used to provide additional instructions on splitting expenses between shortcodes to the Tier 2.

Are goods and services that are purchased from internal sources included in this process?

Goods and services that are purchased from an internal vendor and billed on a re-charge basis are not included. The following is a list of purchasing activities that are outside the scope of the Post Award Procurement process:

  • ULAM animal purchases
  • U-M internal Core services
  • Biomedical Research Store

Is it necessary for all line items to be received in M-Pathways?

Yes, for audit purposes, we need to be able to document that the goods were received and that they were in good condition. By marking the items as received in M-Pathways, the need to retain paper copies of packing slips is no longer necessary.

How does partial receiving work?

If a vendor delivers an order in multiple shipments, Tier 1’s can receive the items in Wolverine Access as they are delivered to the lab. As the remaining items are delivered, the quantity received can be updated in Wolverine Access. Tier 1’s have a 30-day window to complete receiving.

How can a Tier 1 monitor their M-marketsite orders?

Browse Only users can use the follow system functionality to monitor their assigned cart to determine if the assigned cart has been processed and or if a PO has been sent to the supplier. System Notifications: Browse Only users have access to update their M-marketsite Profile Email Preferences and turn on the following system email messages:

  1. Assigned Cart Processed Notification – The Browse Only user will receive a system email when the assignee (Tier 2 person) process the cart and returns the cart to MPathways.
  2. Assigned Cart Deleted Notification - The Browse Only user will receive a system email if the assignee (Tier 2 person) deletes the cart.
  3. PO Sent to Supplier - The Browse Only user will receive a system email when the PO is sent to the supplier.

These system email notifications can help Browse Only users identify carts that have been processed.

How do we prevent non-Tier 2’s from placing orders through M-Marketsite?

Each department/unit should develop a plan for revoking the “EPRO MARKETSITE USER” and “EPRO USER” roles through the OARS system. Tier 1’s will still be able to use the Browse Only option in M-Marketsite, and assign carts to the Tier 2. Units should also periodically run the Business Objects query to make sure only the Tier 2 users are placing orders.

Public Folders/User-Shared/Med School PAAC/Procurement Volume Info

Can a Tier 2 view another users purchase requisitions?

Yes, Submit a help desk ticket to ITS stating that you need your new user access to view the requisitions of your other Tier 2’s. State that it is part of the Medical School process. In the subject line also put “Please Assign to Fin Tier 2” which will help route the ticket to someone who knows how to perform the programming.

How do I find the names of individuals in my department that have Tier 1 access?

There is a report in M-Reports under the Compliance tab called the Access Validation report. You can run that by department id, export to excel then sort on the Tier 1 role (note that most staff do not have access to this tab in M-Reports, so you would need to check with someone in your department, likely someone responsible for internal controls). Recommended practice is for each unit/dept. to maintain a spreadsheet that is updated each time an OARS request related to procurement is submitted.

How do get a new vendor added to the U-M Vendor Database?

Contact the vendor and request a copy of the company’s W-9. Complete the Request Vendor form in Wolverine access and upload the W-9. You will receive an email with the new vendor number.

Path to Request Vendor Form: Wolverine Access/Faculty/Staff/M-Pathways Financials & Physical Resources System/Main Menu/Vendors/Vendor Information/Add/update/Request Vendor/Add a New Value/Add the Taxpayer ID #/Add.

The vendor database is too large, and I find it hard to locate vendors. What are some tips for searching for vendors in the database?

  • Change the drop-down menu to “contains” rather than “begins with” in the Vendor Name field
  • Use % signs in Vendor Name Field:  %vendor name%

Can a Marketsite cart be sent to more than one Tier 2?

There is no system way to initially send the cart to more than one Tier 2. A Tier 2 can forward their carts to another for processing. 

When I will be out of the office, how can I forward Marketsite carts to another Tier 2 for processing?

Go to Marketsite punchout in Wolverine Access. Click the picture of the cart in the left column: My Carts and Orders/View Draft Shopping Carts/Assign Substitute (search for name). You must login and end the substitution when you return from your absence.  

If a Tier 2 is unexpectedly out of the office, how can the unit determine if any M-Marketsite carts have been assigned to the person?

Ideally, the absent Tier 2 would be able to access a computer and forward their carts to another Tier 2, using the method above. If the person is not able to forward their cart, there are several options:

  1. If the units’ normal process requires Tier 1’s to submit a PRF for all orders, including M-Marketsite, the other Tier 2’s would see that a cart had been created. You can call the ITS help desk, 4-HELP, and they can forward those carts to another Tier 2.
  2. You can call the ITS help desk, 4-HELP. They have administrative access, and can determine if any carts have been assigned to the absent Tier 2. They also have the ability to forward those carts to another Tier 2.
  3. A unit could setup a rule on the Tier 2 e-mail that notifies a backup group e-mail any time the Tier 2 receives a marketsite order. The backup group e-mail is made up of 3 people (administrators). Then, the backup group will at least know that there are orders coming in for the Tier 2 person that is out of the office unexpectedly. There is no way to forward them though, so each Tier 1 has to be contacted and asked to re-route to a different Tier 2, or call the ITS help desk. 

What documents should the Tier 2 image?

Vendor order confirmations need to be added to WebNow for all vendors that have a strategic contract with the university. See the Procurement website for a complete list.

Vendors will email order confirmations to the Tier 2 that created the Purchase Requisition. Order confirmations should be saved as a PDF to upload to WebNow.

Faculty & Staff> WebNow

  1. Click “Capture”
  2. Under Drawer select “FN ERECON” from drop down menu
  3. Enter the PO # from the order in the “PO ID.” field
  4. Enter the Proj/Grant # from the order in the “Project/Grant” field
  5. Under Type, select “PO” from the drop down menu
  6. Click “Add” in the upper right corner
  7. Locate the electronic version of the order confirmation (pdf, docx, xls or tif only), select the file and Click “Capture”
  8. Message: The files have been successfully added & Click “OK"

How should we image documents for items that were procured through a shortcode via a strategic vendor?

If we need to order an item directly from a strategic vendor using a short code, not a PO, the Tier 2 sends a copy of the order confirmation to the SAPOC on the grant. The SAPOC can then upload the order confirmation in eRecon once the charge has appeared.

Is imaging a requirement, or just a suggestion?

For auditing purposes, you need to be able to prove that the expenses have been verified, and that you followed the policy established by your unit. Imaging the documents and attaching them electronically in eRecon, replaces the paper process. 

Do I need to keep paper receipts/documentation?

For auditing purposes, you need to be able to prove that the expenses have been verified, and that you followed the policy established by your unit. It is not likely that a sponsor would require paper documentation.

In WebNow, why should I customize the document key headers?

Customizing the headers appropriately (PI ID, Project Grant, etc.), should reduce the number of imaging errors. Instructions for customizing can be found here.

What are common imaging errors?

  • Using the Purchase Requisition #, instead of the PO #
  • Using the shortcode, instead of the Project/Grant #
  • Populating the incorrect information in a field
  • Typos in PO # or Project Grant #

What is the difference between entering support in eRecon or Webnow? Are we required to use WebNow rather than eRecon or does it matter?

Either option can be used, and there are pros and cons to both.

With eRecon, there is less room for data entry errors because the image is attached directly to the line item and the document keys are not required. The downside is that there is a time delay because you must wait for the expense to hit the SOA.

With WebNow, the image can be uploaded as soon as the PO # has been created. It is at the discretion of each department/unit to determine their process.

When viewing imaged documents in eRecon, why do I see attachments that are not related to my project?

Since there can be multiple documents associated with a Journal ID, you will see all images when you click the "View Doc" button in eRecon. It does not filter on P/G, it pulls documents with the same Journal ID and Journal Date from the FN ERECON drawer.

Is it necessary for all line items to be received in M-Pathways?

Yes, for audit purposes, we need to be able to document that the goods were received and that they were in good condition. By marking the items as received in M-Pathways, the need to retain paper copies of packing slips no longer necessary. 

Who is responsible for making sure that items are received?

Typically, it would be the SAPOC that would notice as part of their monthly reconciliation process, that items were not received. They can then send reminders to the individuals who are responsible. Alternatively, a unit may choose to have the Tier 2 send reminders and follow-up.


Contact us at or 734-763-4272 / Fax: 734-615-9458

2800 Plymouth Road, NCRC Building 520, Room 3174, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2800

A list of Grant Services & Analysis is available in the Personnel Directory.