Equipment is defined as an article of non-expendable, tangible property, having a useful life of more than one year and an acquisition cost of $5,000 or more per unit. Specific purchasing requirements vary by funding agency, and agency guidelines should be reviewed by the principal investigator prior to budgeting or acquisition of equipment on a research project. Investigators should ensure that costs claimed are necessary, reasonable, allocable, and allowable.
General-use or general-purpose equipment, such as office furnishings, tools, or vehicles such as small boats, are usually not eligible for support on research projects unless primarily or exclusively used in the actual conduct of scientific research and/or accommodated by special provisions in the proposal solicitation. Such equipment is purchased through the capital budget and depreciated over a scheduled time period as determined by the accounting rules. Requests are submitted annually through the department office or group manager, prioritized, and decided on as part of the capital planning process. Capital items that were approved but will not be delivered or paid for in the current year must be resubmitted in the next year's request for approval. Depreciation is charged to the overhead budget of the department or group.