How To Make Purchases

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How do I order items?

If you need to have an order placed, start with our online purchase request system, Aestiva, at purchasing.chem.wisc.edu.

  • You will need to have a chemistry account in order to gain access.
  • If you have never used the system, but have a chemistry account, send a request through the ShopHelp system.

General purchasing guidelines

For purchases under $5,000

We can normally approve and process these requests without needing anything additional from the requestor. A business purpose is always required. There may occasionally be other barriers, such as the intended vendor being prohibited by the university, but this is rare. For questions on purchases in this area, send a request through the ShopHelp system.

For purchases from $5,000 to $49,999

We require one of the following:

  1. That the vendor and the items being purchased already be on contract with the university. Search vendors currently on contract.
  2. Simplified Bid: Three comparative quotes, from which the lowest responsible quote is chosen to make the purchase; or
  3. Proper justification to waive the need for the simplified bid/three quotes, submitted on the Non-Competitive Purchase Request Form(.doc).*

*Non-Competitive Waivers over $25,000 require a governor’s waiver, which is very time-consuming and often unnecessary. In these cases, it generally makes most sense to prepare the simplified bid. If three relevant vendors are contacted, but two of the three cannot provide the requested items with required specifications, those two still count as bids.

For purchases of $50,000 or more

Purchasing Services will prepare an Official Sealed Bid or a Request for Proposal (RFP) depending upon the type of items and/or services needed.

Our main contact for these is Jeff Whitman, jwhitman@bussvc.wisc.edu.

View a list of vendors who are not eligible to do business with UW-Madison.

Price Check Resources

Obtain pricing information through UW-Madison Materials Distribution Services (MDS). MDS provides access to several vendors, including Staples, Thermo Fisher, VWR, and Grainger. Please note this is a guide for pricing information only. Orders should be submitted through Aestiva.

To access MDS and view product and price options, go to MDS, then select “Been Here” and login using ID “guest” and password “guest1.”

Department Credit Cards and when to use them

Event Purchasing Card

Contact Pat Egan or Kayla Driscoll to use this card

  • For catering or other food for an event
  • For event venue reservations, such as conference centers
  • For event supplies

In-Store Purchasing Card

Contact Pat Egan to use this card

  • DoIT purchases
  • In-store purchases such as at grocery stores


  • All lab and office supplies should be ordered via Aestiva whenever possible
  • Only use the In-Store Card if there is an immediate need for the item

To use a department credit card, you must submit the following documentation:

  • Business purpose (e.g., conference schedule, to collaborate with [Name] on [Project, etc.])
  • Funding (A481500 or other UDDS, a fund such as a 144 or 233 and project such as PRJ1234)
  • Copy of the paid receipt
  • Pre-approval form signed by PI or your supervisor & Pat Egan

Research Storeroom

When should I use the Research Storeroom?

Set up a Research Storeroom Account

  1. Visit the Research Storeroom website.
  2. On the right-hand side, and down a bit, you’ll see the header Research Storeroom Customer Forms.
  3. Select the second document from the top, Chemistry Research Assistant Storeroom Account Application.
  4. Complete the starred fields and email the document to Tristan Rholl.

How to reserve time in the storeroom

  1. Hours: weekdays from 8-10 a.m. and 1-4 p.m. by appointment only
  2. Log in to your UW Google account (find it through MyUW). Then make an appointment through the google sheet using that UW gmail address. You may need to install the “google apps” widget.

Contact Tristan Rholl or Pat Egan with questions.

Reimbursement Tips

  • Submit all expense reimbursement requests within 90 days of the expense. This includes travel, business meals, supply purchases, etc. Anything after 90 days is considered non-reimbursable.
  • Make sure you have the proper funding number for your trip before you submit your reimbursement.
  • Make sure to include all expenses, including prepaid items, so that your E-Reimbursement reflects the full travel picture.
  • Remember that a business purpose must include basic who, what, where, when, and why information about your travel & expenses.
  • Submit questions through the ShopHelp system.

Request an Expense Reimbursement

  1. To submit a request for expense reimbursement, visit the Accounting Services site and follow the instructions for E-Reimbursement. You will need to know in advance which fund number your expenses will be reimbursed from (e.g., grant number, departmental fund code, etc.).
  2. Business Services has a step-by-step guide that you can access here: https://businessservices.wisc.edu/travel-reimbursement/getting-reimbursed/how-to-create-modify-and-resubmit-an-expense-reimbursement-in-e-reimbursement/
  3. If you need help with your reimbursement request, please contact your path coordinator or send a request through the ShopHelp system.
  4. Reimbursement requests are approved at the department level by Hailey Johnson and then reviewed and approved by College of Letters & Science staff. Please allow 2-4 weeks for your reimbursement to be paid out. If you haven’t received notice of your reimbursement within 4 weeks, please let us know through the ShopHelp system.

Use GET to Reduce a Day Trip Meal Allowance

Follow the detailed instructions for reducing your day trip meal allowance when using the GET tool.

Additional GET Resources from the DoIT KnowledgeBase.


ShopUW+, a centrally supported system for purchasing and payments, will replace Shop@UW on April 16. Requisitions, direct payments, and payments to individuals supported by paper or electronic forms submitted by intercampus mail or email will go though ShopUW+. Learn More >>

Please contact purchasing through the ShopHelp system instead of using email, so that we may more easily manage the large number of requests we receive.

ShopHelp Purchasing has a new ticketing system! Check Purchase Status Get Aestiva Access Update/Add Funding & Vendors And More Avoid Email | Use ShopHelp!

Purchasing assistance is available from the following

Skemp, Chad

Position title: Purchasing Specialist

Email: cskemp@chem.wisc.edu

Phone: 608.262.1481


Contact for: purchases of any amount; to authorize listing an additional project/fund number in Aestiva; invoice issues, purchase orders for events and travel, and policy

Bennin, Emily

Position title: Financial Specialist

Email: elbennin@wisc.edu


Contact for: payments to individuals (checks as payments or awards), direct payments to companies ( less than $5,000), MDS purchases, purchasing card use and questions

Johnson, Hailey

Position title: Financial Specialist

Email: hljohnson8@wisc.edu

Phone: 608.262.0206


Contact for:

  • Pre-Award Grants: to prepare and submit an NSF or NIH proposal or to process Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs).
  • Post-Award Grants: to project grant expenditures or to apply for a no-cost extension. 

Malone, Mike

Position title: Financial Specialist

Email: mhmalone@wisc.edu

Phone: 608.262.5133


Contact for: invoice issues, purchasing card use and questions

Meyers, Nicole

Position title: Financial Specialist

Email: nmeyers3@wisc.edu

Phone: 608.262.4225


Contact for: internal billing, purchasing card compliance, and purchase orders (more than $5,000)