A. Criteria

ARPA-E performs a preliminary review of Full Applications to determine whether they are compliant and responsive (see Section III.C of the FOA).  ARPA-E also performs a preliminary review of Replies to Reviewer Comments to determine whether they are compliant.

ARPA-E considers a mix of quantitative and qualitative criteria in determining whether to encourage the submission of a Full Application and whether to select a Full Application for award negotiations. 

1. Criteria for Concept Papers 

Deleted and reserved for future use.

2. Criteria for Full Applications

Full Applications are evaluated based on the following criteria:

(1)  Impact of the Proposed Technology (30%) - This criterion involves consideration of the following:

    • The potential for a transformational and disruptive (not incremental) advancement in one or more energy-related fields;
    • Thorough understanding of the current state-of-the-art and presentation of an innovative technical approach to significantly improve performance over the current state-of-the-art;
    • Awareness of competing commercial and emerging technologies and identification of  how the proposed concept/technology provides significant improvement over these other solutions; and
    • A reasonable and effective strategy for transitioning the proposed technology from the laboratory to commercial deployment.

(2)  Overall Scientific and Technical Merit (30%) - This criterion involves consideration of the following:

    • Whether the proposed work is unique and innovative;
    • Clearly defined project outcomes and final deliverables;
    •  Substantiation that the proposed project is likely to meet or exceed the technical performance targets identified in this FOA;
    • Feasibility of the proposed work based upon preliminary data or other background information and sound scientific and engineering practices and principles;
    • A sound technical approach, including appropriately defined technical tasks, to accomplish the proposed R&D objectives; and
    • Management of risk, to include identifying major technical R&D risks and feasible, effective mitigation strategies.

(3)  Qualifications, Experience, and Capabilities of the Proposed Project Team(30%) - This criterion involves consideration of the following:

    • The PI and Project Team have the skill and expertise needed to successfully execute the project plan, evidenced by prior experience that demonstrates an ability to perform R&D of similar risk and complexity; and
    • Access to the equipment and facilities necessary to accomplish the proposed R&D effort and/or a clear plan to obtain access to necessary equipment and facilities.

(4)  Soundness of Management Plan(10%) -This criterion involves consideration of the following:

    • Plausibility of plan to manage people and resources;
    • Allocation of appropriate levels of effort and resources to proposed tasks;
    • Reasonableness of the proposed project schedule, including major milestones; and
    • Reasonableness of the proposed budget to accomplish the proposed project.
    • Submissions will not be evaluated against each other since they are not submitted in accordance with a common work statement. 

The above criteria will be weighted as follows:

Impact of the Proposed Technology


Overall Scientific and Technical Merit


Qualifications, Experience, and Capabilities of the Proposed Project Team


Soundness of Management Plan



3. Criteria for Replies to Reviewer Comments

ARPA-E has not established separate criteria to evaluate Replies to Reviewer Comments.  Instead, Replies to Reviewer Comments are evaluated as an extension of the Full Application. 

B.  Review and Selection Process

1. Program Policy Factors

In addition to the above criteria, ARPA-E may consider the following program policy factors in determining which Concept Papers to encourage to submit a Full Application and which Full Applications to select for award negotiations:

  1. ARPA-E Portfolio Balance. Project balances ARPA-E portfolio in one or more of the following areas:
    1. Diversity of technical personnel in the proposed Project Team; 
    2. Technological diversity;
    3.  Organizational diversity;
    4.  Geographic diversity;
    5.  Technical or commercialization risk; or
    6.  Stage of technology development.
  1. Relevance to ARPA-E Mission Advancement. Project contributes to one or more of ARPA-E’s key statutory goals:
    1. Reduction of US dependence on foreign energy sources;
    2. Stimulation of domestic manufacturing/U.S. Manufacturing Plan;
    3. Reduction of energy-related emissions;
    4. Increase in U.S. energy efficiency;
    5. Enhancement of U.S. economic and energy security; or
    6. Promotion of U.S. advanced energy technologies competitiveness.
  1. Synergy of Public and Private Efforts.
    1. Avoids duplication and overlap with other publicly or privately funded projects;
    2. Promotes increased coordination with nongovernmental entities for demonstration of technologies and research applications to facilitate technology transfer; or
    3. Increases unique research collaborations.
  1. Low likelihood of other sources of funding. High technical and/or financial uncertainty that results in the non-availability of other public, private or internal funding or resources to support the project.
  1. High-Leveraging of Federal Funds. Project leverages Federal funds to optimize advancement of programmatic goals by proposing cost share above the required minimum or otherwise accessing scarce or unique resources.
  1. High Project Impact Relative to Project Cost.

2. ARPA-E Reviewers

By submitting an application to ARPA-E, Applicants consent to ARPA-E’s use of Federal employees, contractors, and experts from educational institutions, nonprofits, industry, and governmental and intergovernmental entities as reviewers.   ARPA-E selects reviewers based on their knowledge and understanding of the relevant field and application, their experience and skills, and their ability to provide constructive feedback on applications.  

ARPA-E requires all reviewers to complete a Conflict-of-Interest Certification and Nondisclosure Agreement through which they disclose their knowledge of any actual or apparent conflicts and agree to safeguard confidential information contained in Concept Papers, Full Applications, and Replies to Reviewer Comments.  In addition, ARPA-E trains its reviewers in proper evaluation techniques and procedures. 

Applicants are not permitted to nominate reviewers for their applications.  Applicants may contact the Contracting Officer by email (ARPA-E-CO@hq.doe.gov) if they have knowledge of a potential conflict of interest or a reasonable belief that a potential conflict exists.

3.  ARPA-E Support Contractor

ARPA-E utilizes contractors to assist with the evaluation of applications and project management.  To avoid actual and apparent conflicts of interest, ARPA-E prohibits its support contractors from submitting or participating in the preparation of applications to ARPA-E. 

By submitting an application to ARPA-E, Applicants represent that they are not performing support contractor services for ARPA-E in any capacity and did not obtain the assistance of ARPA-E’s support contractor to prepare the application.  ARPA-E will not consider any applications that are submitted by or prepared with the assistance of its support contractors.

C.  Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates

For information on Anticipated Announcement and Award Dates, refer to the section text provided in the FOA.