Greetings, PIs, Business, and Grant Administrators,


Recently there has been a lot of confusion on the difference between office/other supplies and lab & research supplies.  I wanted to provide some clarification and additional guidance that might be helpful when you are trying to decide the most appropriate account code to use.


Office Supplies versus Lab/Research Supplies


Office supplies, paper supplies, computing supplies, and other supplies are administrative or general in nature, often supporting multiple grant and non-grant activities.  They are not allowed to be directly charged on sponsored projects except for in rare circumstances. 


Example:  Office supplies that are not allowed to be directly charged:



Example:  Office supplies that are allowed to be directly charged:



Lab & research supplies are “non-administrative” supplies that are required to support the scope of work.  Typically they are outlined in the budget justification or tie directly to the work being performed in support of the grant.



Examples above are not all-inclusive.  For additional guidance, please refer to the cost policy on sponsored agreements along with this matrix that gives some additional examples of costs that are normally considered direct versus indirect. 


Supplies versus Equipment <$5,000


Another area of confusion is around what is considered a supply versus equipment <$5k.  A good rule of thumb is that a supply is a consumable item that will be fully used by the end of the grant.  If the item you are purchasing is not consumable (i.e. tool, medical device, appliance, etc.), it would be considered equipment <$5k and should be coded appropriately to either other equipment<$5k (65002) or non-cap scientific equip<$5k (65003).


If you have any questions when trying to determine the best account code to use, please reach out to your assigned financial analyst and they can assist with identifying the most appropriate account code.


Thank you.


Linda Serrantonio, CRA | Assistant Director | Team Lead

Research Finance | Reporting

University of Vermont

Sponsored Project Administration

217 Waterman | 85 South Prospect Street

Burlington, VT 05405-0160

P: 802-656-4194 | [log in to unmask] |


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