EERE uses Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOAs) to solicit applications in specific program areas and selects projects based on a merit review process that includes independent third-party experts from industry and universities.

The EERE funding and evaluation process, covering the steps from concept letters to selection.

When you apply for funding, the application process may include multiple phases:

  • Letter of intent
  • Concept paper
  • Full application phase
  • Replies to reviewer comments

At each phase, EERE performs an initial review of the applicant submissions to determine whether they meet the eligibility and compliance requirements listed in the FOA. Noncompliant, nonresponsive, or otherwise ineligible submissions will not move forward in the review process.

FOA-specific submission deadlines are listed on the EERE Exchange and on the FOA document cover page. All applications must be submitted via EERE Exchange unless specifically stated otherwise. If you have questions about the application process, send them to the email listed in the "Contact Information" section of the FOA you're applying for.

For more information on how EERE evaluates applications, see DOE's Merit Review Guide for Financial Assistance and refer to the Application Review Information section of each EERE FOA.

Letters of Intent

Letters of intent may be required for FOAs. If applicable, it will be used by EERE to plan for the merit review process. The letters will not be used for down-selection purposes and do not commit an applicant to submit an application. However, if a letter of intent is required, only applicants who submitted one are eligible to submit a full application.

Concept Papers

Concept papers are brief descriptions of the proposed project. This submission allows applicants to submit their ideas with minimal time and expense. If an applicant fails to submit an eligible concept paper, the applicant will not be eligible to submit a full application.

After review, EERE will provide applicants with either an "encouraged" or "discouraged" notification, so the applicant can make an informed decision whether to expend additional resources to prepare a full application. A "discouraged" notification conveys EERE's lack of programmatic interest in the proposed project. However, an applicant who receives a "discouraged" notification may still submit a full application.

Full Applications

Applicants must submit a full application by the specified due date listed in the FOA to be considered for funding. Applicants must complete all application forms listed in the FOA, which include, but are not limited to: SF-424 Application for Federal Assistance, a Budget Justification, and the Technical Volume.

See the Forms page to download or find links to these forms.

Replies to Reviewer Comments

Many EERE FOAs include a "Reply to Reviewer Comments" stage. After experts in the FOA topic area(s) review the eligible full applications, EERE provides those reviewer comments to the applicants and offers the applicants a brief opportunity to respond.

This gives applicants a unique opportunity to correct misunderstandings and misinterpretations and to submit additional data that might influence the selection process in their favor. The replies are considered by the reviewers and the selection official.