Professor Roy Harrison OBE FRS

Professor Roy Harrison

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Queen Elizabeth II Birmingham Centenary Professor of Environmental Health

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston Campus
B15 2TT
United Kingdom

Roy Harrison’s research interests lie in the field of environment and human health. His main specialism is in air pollution, from emissions through atmospheric chemical and physical transformations to exposure and effects on human health. Much of this work is designed to inform the development of policy.


B.Sc. (Class I Honours Chemistry) - University of Birmingham (July 1969)

Ph.D.    (Organic Chemistry) - University of Birmingham (December 1972)

D.Sc. (Environmental Chemistry) - University of Birmingham (July 1989)


Roy Harrison is Queen Elizabeth II Birmingham Centenary Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Birmingham, UK, and also Distinguished Adjunct Professor at King Abdulaziz University, Saudi Arabia. His research interests are in air pollution, especially airborne particulate matter.  He has also been heavily engaged at the science/policy interface as a member of several government technical advisory groups for the Department of Health and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the U.K. including past membership of Defra’s Science Advisory Council.  He was a contributor to the World Health Organization Global Air Quality Guidelines and the Guidelines for Quality of Indoor Air. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2004 New Year Honours List and elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2017.  He is author of over 660 papers in the peer-reviewed literature, and is listed by Web of Science as a Highly Cited Researcher.


Module Lead, Causes & Effects of Air Pollution

Postgraduate supervision

Roy Harrison has carried out pioneering research in: airborne particle concentrations and numbers in the UK; characterisation of emission and impact of ultrafine particulate matter; measurement and modelling of exposure to air toxics and verification by biomarker; high time-resolution chemical fingerprinting of particulate emissions from the steel industry; and the relationship of ultrafine and fine particles in indoor and outdoor respiratory health. Professor Harrison's recent research projects include:

Artificial chemical ageing of ambient atmospheric aerosol
Novel compact after treatment systems for simultaneous reduction of diesel engine NOx, PM, CO and HC emissions
Use of chemical composition and molecular markers to infer the sources of airborne particulate matter
Understanding the fate of traffic-generated particles

Professor Harrison has successfully supervised at least 30 doctoral researchers working in his areas of interest.

Current Students 1st supervisor:

Ali Alsanad - long-term influence of ambient air pollution exposure on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) exacerbation risk, disease progression and quality of life

Seny Damayanti - Nanoparticles in the Urban Atmosphere

Adams Alpha Kamara - In-depth multi-component study of air quality processes


Postgraduate Supervision as 2nd supervisor:

Agung Ghani Kramawijaya - Aerosol Particle Source Apportionment in the Arctic Atmosphere Using PMF Analysis and Isotope Analysis

Maryam Makanvand - New Insights into Air Pollution & Health


Air Pollution;  Atmospheric Science;  Environmental Health;  Environmental Chemistry; Aerosol Science

Other activities

RAE/REF panel memberships

Member of REF 2014 Panel 7, Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

Member of Research Assessment Exercise 2008 Panel 17 in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences

Member of Research Assessment Exercise 2001 Panel 20/21 in Earth and Environmental Sciences


Current Professional Membership:       

  • Fellow, Royal Society, elected 2017
  • Fellow, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Fellow, Royal Meteorological Society
  • Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Public Health of the Royal College of Physicians
  • Honorary Fellow, Faculty of Occupational Medicine (FFOM), Royal College of Physicians
  • Honorary Fellow, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health


Past Professional Membership:

Honorary Vice-President of Environmental Protection UK (2009-2011)


Current Advisory Committee Membership:

  • Member, DEFRA Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) (2002 - )
  • Member, Department of Health Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) (1993-2003; 2006 - )
  • Member, Royal Society Global Environmental Research Committee (2018- )
  • Member, Royal Society Hooke Committee (2023 - )
  • Member, Swedish Research Council (Formas) Environment Panel (2023 - )
  • Member, Department of Transport’s ‘College of Experts’ (CoE) (2023 - )
  • Editor-in-Chief, Climate and Atmospheric Science, Nature Publishing Group (2016 - )
  • Associate Editor, Earth Systems & Environment (2016 - )
  • Member, DETR/DEFRA Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards (1991-2002); Deputy Chairman (2003 - )  Now COMEAP Sub-Committee on Standards  
  • Editorial Board Member of Particuology, Toxics, AIMS Environmental Science (2013 - ), Research (2018 -)


Past Advisory Committee Membership:

  • Member, Royal Society Leverhulme Advanced Fellowship Committee (2020 - 2023)
  • Member, EASAC Working Group on Climate Change and Health (2018 - 2020)
  • Chair, External Advisory Board, NIHR HPRU in Health Impact of Environmental Hazards (2014-2019)
  • Member, International Advisory Committee (IAC), King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2013 - 2022)
  • Member, International Advisory Board, Exposomics Programme (2012 - 2017)
  • Member, International Advisory Committee of CESAM (University of Aveiro, Portugal) (2011 - 2021)
  • Member, Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment (COT) (April 2011 - 2019)
  • World Health Organisation Adviser on Global Air Quality Guidelines (2005 Update);  Indoor Air Quality Guidelines (2010) and REVIHAAP (advice to EU) (2013).  Expert Advisor on revisions to WHO Air Quality Guidelines (2015)
  • Member, DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Science Advisory Council (2008–11)
  • Member, NERC UK Government Nanotechnologies Exposure-Sources, Exposure, Pathways, Technologies Task Force (2006-2012)
  • Member, NERC Science and Innovation Strategy Board (2004 - 2008)
  • Member, NERC Peer Review College (2003 - 2007)
  • Member, DEFRA Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances (2001-2006)
  • Member, MRC Advisory Board (2000 - 2003)
  • Chairman, DETR Airborne Particles Expert Group (1997 - 1999)
  • Member, Advisory Committee on Business and the Environment, Sub-Committee on Diesel Emissions (1995 - 1996)
  • Member, NERC Atmospheric Science & Technology Board (1995 - 1998)
  • Chairman, Department of Environment Quality of Urban Air Review Group (1992 - 1997)
  • Member, Department of Environment Photochemical Oxidants Review Group (1985 - 1997)
  • Joint Executive Editor of Environmental Technology (1980 - 2016)
  • Member, Department of Health, Health Advisory Group on Chemical Contamination Incidents
  • Chairman, Environmental Assessment Group of EUROTRAC II (a EUREKA project)
  • Member of Editorial Advisory Board, Encyclopaedia of Atmospheric Sciences
  • Editor, Aerosol and Air Quality Research (AAQR) (2015 - 2016)
  • Editorial Board Member of Atmospheric Environment, The Science of the Total Environment (1990 – 2018), Journal of Environmental Monitoring, Air Quality, Atmosphere and Health (AIRQ), Asian Journal of Atmospheric Environment, Atmospheric Pollution Research, PeerJ (2012 - 2016)


Haagen-Smit Prize Committee:

  • Member (2000 - 2004;  2010-2016) and Chair (2005 – 2010; 2017) of international selection committee of best papers published in Atmospheric Environment.


Recent publications


Alam, MS, Mcgregor, LA & Harrison, RM 2024, 'A review of organic aerosol speciation by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography', Trends in Analytical Chemistry, vol. 175, 117718.

Zheng, H, Kong, S, Seo, J, Yan, Y, Cheng, Y, Yao, L, Wang, Y, Zhao, T & Harrison, R 2024, 'Achievements and Challenges in Improving Air Quality in China: Analysis of the Long-Term Trends from 2014 to 2022', Environment international, vol. 183, 108361.

Wu, X, Harrison, RM, Chen, M, Wang, T, Lyu, R, Peng, S, Liu, R, Chen, Y, Fang, YR & Yang, P 2024, 'Assessing climate/air quality synergies and cost-effectiveness for Beijing transportation: Insights into sustainable development', Sustainable Cities and Society, vol. 104, 105296.

Şahin, ÜA, Ayvaz, C, Hama, S, Onat, B, Uzun, B, Dogan, M, Bediroglu, G & Harrison, RM 2024, 'Assessment of ambient particulate matter and trace gases in Istanbul: Insights from long-term and multi-monitoring stations', Atmospheric Pollution Research, vol. 15, no. 5, 102089.

Lu, L, Li, L, Rathod, S, Hess, P, Martínez, C, Fernandez, N, Goodale, C, Thies, J, Wong, MY, Alaimo, MG, Artaxo, P, Barraza, F, Barreto, A, Beddows, D, Chellam, S, Chen, Y, Chuang, P, Cohen, DD, Dongarrà, G, Gaston, C, Gómez, D, Morera‐Gómez, Y, Hakola, H, Hand, J, Harrison, R, Hopke, P, Hueglin, C, Kuang, YW, Kyllönen, K, Lambert, F, Maenhaut, W, Martin, R, Paytan, A, Prospero, J, González, Y, Rodriguez, S, Smichowski, P, Varrica, D, Walsh, B, Weagle, C, Xiao, YH & Mahowald, N 2024, 'Characterizing the Atmospheric Mn Cycle and Its Impact on Terrestrial Biogeochemistry', Global Biogeochemical Cycles, vol. 38, no. 4, e2023GB007967.

Kumar, A, Iyer, S, Barua, S, Brean, J, Besic, E, Seal, P, Dall’Osto, M, Beddows, DCS, Sarnela, N, Jokinen, T, Sipilä, M, Harrison, RM & Rissanen, M 2024, 'Direct Measurements of Covalently Bonded Sulfuric Anhydrides from Gas-Phase Reactions of SO3 with Acids under Ambient Conditions', Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 146, no. 22, pp. 15562-15575.

Wu, L, Wang, P, Zhang, Q, Ren, H, Shi, Z, Hu, W, Chen, J, Xie, Q, Li, L, Yue, S, Wei, L, Song, L, Zhang, Y, Wang, Z, Chen, S, Wei, W, Wang, X, Zhang, Y, Kong, S, Ge, B, Yang, T, Fang, Y, Ren, L, Deng, J, Sun, Y, Wang, Z, Zhang, H, Hu, J, Liu, CQ, Harrison, RM, Ying, Q & Fu, P 2024, 'Dominant contribution of combustion-related ammonium during haze pollution in Beijing', Science Bulletin, vol. 69, no. 7, pp. 978-987.

Garcia-Marlès, M, Lara, R, Reche, C, Pérez, N, Tobías, A, Savadkoohi, M, Beddows, D, Salma, I, Vörösmarty, M, Weidinger, T, Hueglin, C, Mihalopoulos, N, Grivas, G, Kalkavouras, P, Ondráček, J, Zíková, N, Niemi, JV, Manninen, HE, Green, DC, Tremper, AH, Norman, M, Vratolis, S, Eleftheriadis, K, Gómez-Moreno, FJ, Alonso-Blanco, E, Wiedensohler, A, Weinhold, K, Merkel, M, Bastian, S, Hoffmann, B, Altug, H, Petit, JE, Favez, O, Dos Santos, SM, Putaud, JP, Dinoi, A, Contini, D, Timonen, H, Lampilahti, J, Petäjä, T, Pandolfi, M, Hopke, PK, Harrison, RM, Alastuey, A & Querol, X 2024, 'Inter-annual trends of ultrafine particles in urban Europe', Environment international, vol. 185, 108510.

Zhang, Y, Sun, J, Shen, X, Lal Chandani, V, Du, M, Song, C, Dai, Y, Hu, G, Yang, M, Tilstone, GH, Jordan, T, Dall'Olmo, G, Liu, Q, Nemitz, E, Callaghan, A, Brean, J, Sommariva, R, Beddows, D, Langford, B, Bloss, W, Acton, W, Harrison, R, Dall'Osto, M & Shi, Z 2024, 'Measurements of particulate methanesulfonic acid above the remote Arctic Ocean using a high resolution aerosol mass spectrometer', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 331, 120538.

Okam, A, Sanderson, P, Harrison, R & Delgado Saborit, JM 2024, 'Morphological and Chemical Characterisation of Indoor Quasi-Ultrafine Particles', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 318, 120245.

Liu, X, Zhang, X, Wang, T, Jin, B, Wu, L, Lara, R, Monge, M, Reche, C, Jaffrezo, J-L, Uzu, G, Dominutti, P, Darfeuil, S, Favez, O, Conil, S, Marchand, N, Castillo, S, de la Rosa, JD, Stuart, G, Eleftheriadis, K, Diapouli, E, Gini, MI, Nava, S, Alves, C, Wang, X, Xu, Y, Green, DC, Beddows, DCS, Harrison, RM, Alastuey, A & Querol, X 2024, 'PM10-bound trace elements in pan-European urban atmosphere', Environmental Research, vol. 260, 119630.

Savadkoohi, M, Pandolfi, M, Favez, O, Putaud, JP, Eleftheriadis, K, Fiebig, M, Hopke, PK, Laj, P, Wiedensohler, A, Alados-Arboledas, L, Bastian, S, Chazeau, B, María, ÁC, Colombi, C, Costabile, F, Green, DC, Hueglin, C, Liakakou, E, Luoma, K, Listrani, S, Mihalopoulos, N, Marchand, N, Močnik, G, Niemi, JV, Ondráček, J, Petit, JE, Rattigan, OV, Reche, C, Timonen, H, Titos, G, Tremper, AH, Vratolis, S, Vodička, P, Funes, EY, Zíková, N, Harrison, RM, Petäjä, T, Alastuey, A & Querol, X 2024, 'Recommendations for reporting equivalent black carbon (eBC) mass concentrations based on long-term pan-European in-situ observations', Environment international, vol. 185, 108553.

Hall, J, Zhong, J, Jowett, S, Mazzeo, A, Thomas, GN, Bryson, JR, Dewar, S, Inglis, N, Wolstencroft, M, Muller, C, Bloss, W, Harrison, R & Bartington, S 2024, 'Regional Impact Assessment of Air Quality Improvement: The Air Quality Lifecourse Assessment Tool (AQ-LAT) for the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)', Environmental Pollution.

Brean, J, Rowell, A, Beddows, DCS, Weinhold, K, Mettke, P, Merkel, M, Tuch, T, Rissanen, M, Maso, MD, Kumar, A, Barua, S, Iyer, S, Karppinen, A, Wiedensohler, A, Shi, Z & Harrison, RM 2024, 'Road Traffic Emissions Lead to Much Enhanced New Particle Formation through Increased Growth Rates', Environmental Science and Technology.

Conference contribution

Baruah, A, Bousiotis, D, Damayanti, S, Bigi, A, Ghermandi, G, Harrison, RM & Pope, FD 2024, Enhancing Urban PM2.5 Predictions: An Innovative Machine Learning Approach to Address Data Gaps. in EGU General Assembly 2024., EGU24-6448, EGUsphere, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14/04/24.

View all publications in research portal


Air pollution; environment and health; toxic chemicals

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air pollution; atmospheric chemistry; effects on health; traffic emissions