The winners of the Polanyi Prize are chosen by the John Charles Polanyi Prizes Selection Committee, which consists of ten members who have expertise and international reputation in the areas of research identified below:
- Physiology or Medicine
- Economic Science
Committee members are selected based on their current and longstanding experience in teaching and supervising graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. COU asks the Ontario Council of Graduate Studies for nominees to sit on the selection committee for the Prize, and COU uses an algorithm to ensure all Ontario universities have representatives on the committee on a rotating base over time. Members serve a three-year term.