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For general information on financial transactions, please visit Office for Research Financial Administration. Additional processes specific to University Research Centers and Institutes are listed below.


  • Approvals: Typically, appropriate staff in a URIC are granted the right to apply Level 1 (<$1,500) and Level 2 (<$5,000) approvals. URICs with less than two staff will have restricted approval rights. Purchases of $5,000 and greater are always reviewed for approval in the Office for Research.
  • Please note that use of preferred vendors and IBuyNU is highly recommended.

Expense Reports for Travel and Entertainment

  • Expense Reports are to be reviewed and approved by the immediate supervisor, regardless of faculty or staff status. The immediate supervisor should review for appropriateness of all expenses for which reimbursement is requested. Review and approval should be done in the financial system; all approvers should have at least one back up approver. (Approval of Expense Reports is a separate responsibility from approving the charge to the chart string.)
  • Special circumstances:
    • Approvals for Institute & Center Directors: Directors, in their capacity as the head of a URIC, report to the Vice President for Research, hence this requirement when requesting reimbursement for expenses incurred on behalf of the URIC. Expense Reports for Directors are reviewed by Anne Martin and Fruma Yehiely; Anne Martin approves these reports as proxy for Jay Walsh (Fruma Yehiely will assume this responsibility in Anne Martin’s absence). Institute & Center personnel may NOT approve any Expense Report for their Director, as this constitutes a conflict of interest. Directors requesting reimbursement for expenses incurred on behalf of a school or department should follow the local requirements for review and approval.
    • Approvals for student expenses: Student expenses should always be reviewed by their sponsoring faculty member.

Managing Requests for New or Existing Chart Strings

The Office for Research manages new and existing chartfield requests for University Research Institutes & Centers. Please complete the required forms and send to Tracy Lakemacher. With any questions, please contact Alexandra Manetas.

“One Card” Procurement Card Program

  • Northwestern University allows individuals in units and departments to have a procurement credit card, “One Card,” that directly charges the University. The Office for Research supports One Card use by its units and centers as a tool for efficient purchasing where appropriate. Each is issued to a specific individual who is responsible for its correct and appropriate use. Typically, the Office for Research will only allow a single card per URIC, or per Core Facility within a URIC. Please send your completed Northwestern University Procurement Card – Cardholder Agreement to Peter Anderson for review and approval.
  • Please review the policy carefully, as there are restrictions on the use of the One Card. Please note that Amazon requires special registration, prior to making the first purchase, of each card to apply Northwestern’s tax exempt status.
  • The Office for Research sets the maximum limit on a card at $1,500 per transaction and $5,000 per month. Well-supported exceptions will be considered, including those necessary for special one-time expenses that exceed the transaction and/or monthly maximum. Requests for exceptions should be sent via email to Tracy Lakemacher, copying Anne Martin.
  • All One Card transactions must be cleared through the financial system in a prompt manner. Carrying a balance on a One Card suspense account code may result in revocation of the card and exclusion from the program.