The Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), through the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), finances the set-up and development of CNSI. OCW funding is used to uphold CNSI facilities and to organise workshops, symposia and education and outreach activities. CNSI does not have scientific staff or financial means to carry out its own (large scale) scientific research, but depends on cooperation in projects of partners and stakeholders. CNSI is administerd and enabled by NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, an NWO research institute, and aims to facilitate projects in all relevant knowledge domains (marine and terrestrial; natural sciences, life sciences, social and economic sciences and humanities), including basic, strategic, applied and societal and policy relevant research, outreach, knowledge development and capacity building.

CNSI has a Steering Group endorsed by the NIOZ Board. The Steering Group advises the NIOZ Board in its responsibilities regarding the formal management of and accountability for CNSI. An Advisory Panel and User Groups complement the organisational structure.