NEAT software

NEAT – Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool:
a validated tool for the integrated, consistent and comparative assessment of biodiversity status and GES across regional seas and the uncertainties related to this assessment



NEAT is an acronym for “Nested Environmental status Assessment Tool” and the software is an implementation of NEAT as a biodiversity assessment tool used for assessing the environmental status of marine areas according to the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). NEAT itself as an assessment method is not restricted to the MSFD but can be used for various other assessment needs. The Deliverable D6.3 gives an overview of the principles applied in NEAT, explains the usage of the software (version 1.1) and gives advice on how to best utilize the software for making a solid assessment, not only restricted to biodiversity (although named as such in the software) but usable for any MSFD descriptor.

The NEAT software aims to represent a flexible and user-friendly desktop application implementing the assessment tool developed in work package 6 (WP6) of the DEVOTES project (Integrative assessment of biodiversity). It integrates results from e.g. WP1 (Human pressures and climate change), WP3 (Indicator testing and development) and others in order to be a central access point to the data collected in the DEVOTES project and to make use of these data for the biodiversity assessment.


NEAT downloads

Here, you can download NEAT. The installation is explained in section 3 of the manual which is included in the download. Be sure to read the licence terms before using the software. They can be found in section 2 of the manual.

Each of the two packages (for Windows and macOS) contains: the NEAT software version 1.4 plus the manual as a PDF file. Note, the downloads are zipped files. You need to unzip (unpack) them in order to access the actual software file (on Windows the zip contains the executable, on macOS the zip contains a dmg file).

NEAT-for-mac NEAT-for-windows
What is new in version 1.4?

Version 1.4 is mainly a maintenance release, fixing some bugs. However, a few enhancements have also been made:

  • Indicator classifications can now be edited and duplicated in the assessment form
  • The automatic calculation of NEAT in the assessment result form can optionally be switched off and assessments can be triggered manually
  • Use the correct titles of the SAU and habitat hierarchies in dialogs
  • Always show all entered classifications for an indicator

The manual of the NEAT software version 1.4 is available as a separate PDF file: NEAT-manual-v1.4.

If you want to discuss NEAT, there is a discussion forum where you can ask questions and get help on topics related to NEAT (you will need to register first).

A short introduction video (using NEAT version 1.1) can be viewed on YouTube: NEAT in 13 minutes – a short introduction.

Below, you can also downlaod a leaflet with the most important facts and information on NEAT:


A longer introduction into NEAT is here (recorded version of a webinar for version 1.1): NEAT webinar (duration 1:50 hours).

Publications (excerpt):

Borja A, Elliott M, Andersen JH, Berg T, Carstensen J, Halpern BS, Heiskanen A-S, Korpinen S, Lowndes JSS, Martin G and Rodriguez-Ezpeleta N (2016) Overview of Integrative Assessment of Marine Systems: The Ecosystem Approach in Practice. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:20. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00020

Borja A, Elliott M, Snelgrove PVR, Austen MC, Berg T, Cochrane S, Carstensen J, Danovaro R, Greenstreet S, Heiskanen A-S, Lynam CP, Mea M, Newton A, Patrício J, Uusitalo L, Uyarra MC and Wilson C (2016) Bridging the Gap between Policy and Science in Assessing the Health Status of Marine Ecosystems. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:175. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00175 

Smith CJ, Papadopoulou K-N, Barnard S, Mazik K, Elliott M, Patrício J, Solaun O, Little S, Bhatia N and Borja A (2016) Managing the Marine Environment, Conceptual Models and Assessment Considerations for the European Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:144. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00144 

Uusitalo L, Blanchet H, Andersen JH, Beauchard O, Berg T, Bianchelli S, Cantafaro A, Carstensen J, Carugati L, Cochrane S, Danovaro R, Heiskanen A-S, Karvinen V, Moncheva S, Murray C, Neto JM, Nygård H, Pantazi M, Papadopoulou N, Simboura N, Sr˙ ebalien˙ eG, Uyarra MC and Borja A (2016) Indicator-Based Assessment of Marine Biological Diversity–Lessons from 10 Case Studies across the European Seas. Front. Mar. Sci. 3:159. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2016.00159