Biophysical forcefields have contributed less than originally anticipated to recent progress in protein structure prediction. Here, we have investigated the selectivity of a recently developed all-atom free-energy forcefield for protein structure prediction and quality assessment (QA). Using a heuristic method, but excluding homology, we generated decoy-sets for all targets of the CASP7 protein structure prediction assessment with <150 amino acids. The decoys in each set were then ranked by energy in short relaxation simulations and the best low-energy cluster was submitted as a prediction. For four of nine template-free targets, this approach generated high-ranking predictions within the top 10 models submitted in CASP7 for the respective targets. For these targets, our de-novo predictions had an average GDT_S score of 42.81, significantly above the average of all groups. The refinement protocol has difficulty for oligomeric targets and when no near-native decoys are generated in the decoy library. For targets with high-quality decoy sets the refinement approach was highly selective. Motivated by this observation, we rescored all server submissions up to 200 amino acids using a similar refinement protocol, but using no clustering, in a QA exercise. We found an excellent correlation between the best server models and those with the lowest energy in the forcefield. The free-energy refinement protocol may thus be an efficient tool for relative QA and protein structure prediction. Proteins 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.