The Dutch Research Council (NWO) is an independent directive body with a legally established mission and tasks. NWO falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The executive board carries final responsibility for the entire, umbrella organisation. The units are located throughout the country, with a headquarters in The Hague.

NWO domains

NWO's core task is performed in the NWO domains, research institutes and regional bodies: encouraging quality and innovation in the sciences. The NWO domains organise the programmes and the research funding. Both the Executive Board and the NWO Domain Boards have the competence to allocate public funding for scientific research.

Research is done at the NWO institutes. Taskforces are temporary units with a special focus on a single, often multidisciplinary, field of research.

Executive Board

The most senior administrative body within NWO is the Executive Board. It's members are a President, a Vice President, a Chief Financial Officer and the four chairs of the NWO domains. The executive board is supported by an executive board office. The president and members of the executive board are appointed by the Minister of Education, Culture and Science for a period of five years, and may be reappointed once.

Members of the executive board

With effect from 1 October 2016:

  • Prof. Stan Gielen – President executive board
  • Caroline Visser - portfolio holder operations and finances

With effect from 1 February 2017:

  • Prof. Ineke Braakman – Chair Domain Science 
  • Prof. Wim van den Doel – Chair Domain Social Sciences and Humanities 
  • Prof. Jaap Schouten – Chair Domain Applied and Engineering Sciences
  • Prof. Jeroen Geurts – Chair ZonMw - The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development


As an independent directive body with the authority to distribute public resources, NWO falls under the aegis of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The tasks and responsibilities are established in the NWO Act. The NWO Regulations define how the decentralised structure is composed, how decision making proceeds and which principles are used for this. The NWO Regulation on Granting describes who may request funding from NWO and the framework of the assessment process and project management. NWO uses a code of good governance (the Dutch Code of 'Goed Bestuur') as a guideline to give account for its public governance structure.