The Executive board carries final responsibility for the entire, umbrella organisation. The Supervisory board advise the Executive Board of NWO, on request or at its own initiative and has a Audit committee that advices on the budget, annual financial statements and annual report. The Advisory board can advise the executive board, on request or at its own initiative, on societal and scientific developments that are relevant to NWO. Under NWO come domain boards, research institutes and temporary taskforces. Important to NWO are the quality, carefulness and transparency of the assessment process and the management of projects. NWO has settled some important governance issues in a number of regulations.
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.
The units are located throughout the country, while NWO has offices in The Hague and Utrecht.