GTO-funded research projects that are submitted through an open and competitive proposal process undergo a comprehensive independent merit review by technology experts from industry, academia, and government. The application process may include multiple phases prior to development of a full application and features a process by which applicants may respond to reviewer comments. Each proposal is rated using evaluation criteria that emphasize the scientific and technical merit of the approach, potential energy and economic impacts, quality of the work plan, capabilities and resources of the applicant team, and other specific criteria. The use of evaluation criteria provides comparability and adherence to stated objectives.

The independent merit review process provides objectivity, transparency, and efficacy in project selection—ultimately ensuring effective use of GTO funding to support research objectives and priorities. This open, merit-based process also facilitates selection of optimal public-sector investments.