Procurement Services Auxiliary Services

Research Card Pilot Program

In January 2023, the university announced a pilot program that will allow faculty to purchase items for externally-funded research projects using dedicated university credit cards. The purpose of this program is to streamline efforts by increasing available options for faculty to purchase research-related goods and services. Participants have already been selected for the pilot program and received direct communication from Procurement Services. The pilot program will run through June 30.

The Research Card (RCard)

While Purdue already provides the Purchasing Card, or PCard, for eligible faculty and staff to assist with their purchasing needs, Procurement is now offering a Research Card, or RCard, for the sole purpose of procuring research-related goods and services through this pilot program.

Each RCard is assigned to a specific individual whose name is listed on the card. The card is only allowed to be used by that individual.

RCard Purchasing Limits

The RCard single transaction limit is $4,999. A monthly limit was previously communicated to pilot program participants through email.

All requests for temporary single transaction or monthly credit limit increases must be requested through your business office. The business office will submit a temporary increase form to Procurement Card Services. Each request will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The Procurement Services department needs to be engaged for any purchase or financial commitments $10,000 or above and sent any documentation that requires an authorized signature. Guidance on special purchases remains unchanged.

If transactions are deemed not allowable, faculty discretionary funds will be used as a back-up funding source. Personal charges will be recovered from payroll.

All grant compliance questions should be directed to the area’s business office.

Employee Responsibilities

Card users are responsible for the following:

  • Working within the guidelines of the pilot program, including dollar thresholds and program requirements
  • Ensuring purchases are limited to official use and are made in a reasonable, cost-effective manner
  • Confirming the purchase is allowable, allocable and related to the program purpose or grant
  • Reconciling card charges by the monthly deadline, including the uploading and submittal of receipts for each transaction
  • Securing tax exemptions with Form ST-105, which can be found under Tax Exemption Forms
  • Adhering to the university purchasing method matrix, which clearly outlines allowable and non-allowable expenses for various purchasing methods. The matrix also provides links to campus resources that describe the process and policy that limit which payment methods can be used for different activity types. Cardholders must follow all requirements listed in the card's Responsibility and Financial Liability Agreement.

See additional information about cardholder responsibilities in the pilot program Frequently Asked Questions.

Use of the Research Card contrary to the procedures outlined above is prohibited and may subject the user to disciplinary action including, but not limited to, reduction in monthly cycle limits or suspension of the card.

RCard Video

More information about the research card, including a brief overview, guidelines on usage and the reconciliation process, is available in a short video put together by Procurement Services.