In most cases the AWTI will advise on knowledge and innovation policies as requested by the Ministers of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and Economic Affairs (EZ), but sometimes the other governmental departments will also turn to the AWTI for advice.
It is also possible for the council to formulate an advise as part of a request of the Second Chamber, or even out of its own will. Often it will consist of a critique or support of a policy. For example, on alterations in innovation policies when a new innovation letter has to be drawn up, or the funding of research if there are expected changes in the financing of universities. Any similar request will be discussed between the AWTI and the applicants and eventually a concrete (advice application) will be formulated.
Sometimes the AWTI will formulate an advisory topic on its own, for example because it wants to point out a worrying development. An example is the situation concerning matching obligations with regard to research funding; the council had found this to have unwanted side effects for universities. Advice applications and the councils own topics together form the Work programme of the AWTI.
The advice track
Following from an application, the council will form an advice track. This is where the advice is outlined, as well as a decision made on the layout: whether a background study should be done, whether anybody needs to be interviewed, the work conferences that need to be organised, the literature to be studied and/or the places that need to be visited. The AWTI relies heavily on the input and interaction with the several parties involved in the area relating to the advice.
In most cases a projectgroup is formed out of the members of the council that have a special involvement with the formulation of the advice. This group consists of about 2 to 5 members that have a close affinity with the topic. They also provide further efforts in the creation of the advice, such as hosting one of the work conferences or attending to the press.
At the end of the track the advice text is discussed in the council, usually on several occasions. The council has to agree with the core text before the advice is published. Meanwhile there will often be interested parties and key figures also involved in discussing the advice, so that they do not face any surprises, but also to check the facts.
Publishing of the advice
The advice becomes public the moment the chairman offers the advice to the respective minister(s). The publication is always accompanied by a press-release and sometimes a conference.