I've seen two techniques used for dispensing that could be built/used very easily. The first uses an ordinary syringe, with a stepper motor/screw combination driving the plunger down. The second approach is a little more complex (but still simple): use a peristaltic pump. This is just a set of rotating rollers 'sqeezing' stuff thru a plastic tube. Either approach could be constructed pretty easily and allow precision controlled dispensing of paste, glue, etc.
As far as the pick/place, any small source of vacuum (cheap diaphram pump) and a 3-way solenoid valve are all you would need. Nothing too complicated....
Try looking at surplus electronics dealers for cheap pneumatics (Electronics Goldmine, Surplus Sales of Nebraska, Marlin p. Jones off the top of my head). One other useful part would be a pressure sensor for detecting when a part is being held (in case it's not there or falls off or sticks), $15 from Digi-Key.
Hope this helps,