Delegation of Signature Authority

In order to make purchases on a grant budget, the purchaser must be delegated signature authority by the Principal Investigator. The Chemistry Finance Group maintains files of these delegations to insure compliance with federal guidelines. Auditors frequently ask for proof of delegation of authority.

Chemistry supervisors (faculty, managers), please use this form to grant your researchers & staff access to your accounts for Chemstore, instrumentation, and Purchase Path use. Chemistry researchers & staff, you may use the form as well to request access. For fastest service, please attach your supervisor’s approval. If supervisor approval is not attached, we will reach out to them directly.

Please direct any questions to chemfinance@uw.edu.

Purchasing Process and Procedures

The Department of Chemistry has a central purchasing staff to place orders to outside vendors and help you resolve any problems that may occur. Purchase requests are submitted to the Purchasing staff via PurchasePath, a web-based ordering system that manages all aspects of purchasing including order submission, approval, receiving, and history. Chemistry purchasing staff also use PurchasePath to communicate with you about your order, and you are able to attach any necessary supporting documentation to your order (e.g., link to product(s), quotes, sole source justifications). Please direct any questions to chempurchase@uw.edu, 206-543-1650.

Please be sure to be as specific as possible about when you need your material. This will help the purchasing staff prioritize work and assure that you get what you need, when you need it. Catalog/non catalog orders are generally placed within one business day of receipt. Procard, foreign vendor and equipment orders take longer but are usually placed within one week of receipt. For urgent orders, please write to chempurchase@uw.edu directly after you’ve submitted the order in PurchasePath.

PurchasePath Login

Other Purchasing Information

Gas Orders

Praxair delivers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Cutoff for Tuesday orders is Monday at 12:00 pm (or Friday at 12:00 pm for cryogenic orders).
Cutoff for Thursday orders is Wednesday at 12:00 pm (or Tuesday at 12:00 pm for cryogenic orders). 
Liquid helium – 4-day lead time.
Liquid nitrogen – 2-day lead time.
Complex blends and specialty orders may take longer. 
If you have questions, please contact Anna.

Orders over $10,000

The “direct buy limit” is $10,000. Orders over this amount are subject to state law requiring competitive pricing. The UW has established competitive contracts with many supplies. The direct buy limit does not apply to suppliers with which there is a competitive contract. If there is no competitive contract in place, you may be asked to complete a Sole Source justification. The Chemistry Purchasing and Accounting staff will help you with this requirement. Additional information is available here: https://finance.uw.edu/ps/how-buy/sole-source-purchasing

M & E Tax Sales Exemption (Machinery & Equipment)

If an equipment purchase meets certain criteria, the purchase may qualify for an M & E tax exemption, which would exempt the purchase from sales tax. These qualifications are:

  • Have a useful life of more than one year.
  • Be used more than 50% annually on qualifying research (equipment used primarily for instruction generally does not qualify)  and
  • Have an acquisition cost of $200 or more

Non-equipment costs (such as replacement parts) may also qualify for this exemption; more information is available on the UW Equipment Inventory Office website. You will be asked to submit an M&E tax exemption form (PDF) with your order.


The Chemistry Research Stockroom (36 Bagley Hall) is the central receiving location for the Department. All material must be shipped to 36 Bagley Hall. You will be notified via email when your shipment arrives. To check the status of your shipment, please contact the Purchasing and Accounting Office.

For further information, please see the Shipping and Receiving policy.

Equipment Insurance

Equipment is not automatically insured by the University. The UW Office of Risk Management administers an optional, low cost insurance plan for University-owned equipment. If you’re interested in obtaining this coverage for your equipment, please contact chemfinance@uw.edu.