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 (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 until recently 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 500 papers in the peer-reviewed literature, and is listed by Web of Science as a Highly Cited Researcher.

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.


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


Recent publications


Shi, Z, Song, C, Liu, B, Lu, G, Xu, J, VU, VT, Elliott, RJR, Li, W, Bloss, W & Harrison, R 2021, 'Abrupt but smaller than expected changes in surface air quality attributable to COVID-19 lockdowns', Science Advances, vol. 7, no. 3, eabd6696.

Bloss, WJ, Kramer, L, Crilley, LR, Vu, T, Harrison, RM, Shi, Z, Lee, JD, Squires, FA, Whalley, LK, Slater, E, Woodward-Massey, R, Ye, C, Heard, DE, Tong, S, Hou, S, Sun, Y, Xu, J, Wei, L & Fu, P 2021, 'Insights into air pollution chemistry and sulphate formation from nitrous acid (HONO) measurements during haze events in Beijing', Faraday Discussions.

Beddows, D & Harrison, R 2021, 'PM10 and PM2.5 emission factors for non-exhaust particles from road vehicles: dependence upon vehicle mass and implications for battery electric vehicles', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 244, 117886.

Elzein, A, Stewart, GJ, Swift, SJ, Nelson, BS, Crilley, L, Alam, S, Reyes-Villegas, E, Gadi, R, Harrison, R, Hamilton, JF & Lewis, AC 2020, 'A comparison of PM2.5-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in summer Beijing (China) and Delhi (India)', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 20, no. 22, pp. 14303–14319.

Harrison, R 2020, 'Airborne particulate matter', Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, vol. 378, no. 2183, 20190319, pp. 20190319.

Xu, J, Srivastava, D, Wu, X, Hou, S, Vu, T, Liu, D, Sun, Y, Vlachou, A, Moschos, V, Salazar, G, Szidat, S, Prévôt, ASH, Fu, P, Harrison, RM & Shi, Z 2020, 'An evaluation of source apportionment of fine OC and PM2.5 by multiple methods: APHH-Beijing campaigns as a case study', Faraday Discussions.

Dall'Osto, M, Park, J, Kim, JH, Kang, SH, Park, K, Beddows, DCS, Harrison, RM & Yoon, YJ 2020, 'Arctic ship-based evidence of new particle formation events in the Chukchi and East Siberian Seas', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 223, 117232.

Xu, R, Alam, MS, Stark, C & Harrison, RM 2020, 'Behaviour of traffic emitted semi-volatile and intermediate volatility organic compounds within the urban atmosphere', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 720, 137470, pp. 1-11.

Xu, R, Alam, MS, Stark, C & Harrison, RM 2020, 'Composition and emission factors of traffic- emitted intermediate volatility and semi-volatile hydrocarbons (C10–C36) at a street canyon and urban background sites in central London, UK', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 231, 117448.

Rinaldi, M, Paglione, M, Decesari, S, Harrison, R, Beddows, DCS, Ovadnevaite, J, Ceburnis, D, O´Dowd, C, Simó, R & Dall'Osto, M 2020, 'Contribution of water-soluble organic matter from multiple marine geographic eco-regions to aerosols around Antarctica', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 54, no. 13, pp. 7807-7817 .

Steimer, SS, Patton, DJ, Vu, TV, Panagi, M, Monks, PS, Harrison, RM, Fleming, ZL, Shi, Z & Kalberer, M 2020, 'Differences in the composition of organic aerosols between winter and summer in Beijing: A study by direct-infusion ultrahigh-resolution mass spectrometry', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 20, no. 21, 683, pp. 13303-13318.

Dall'Osto, M, Santl-Temkiv, T, O'Dowd, C & Harrison, RM 2020, 'Enrichment of organic nitrogen in primary biological particles during advection over the North Atlantic', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 222, 117160, pp. 1-9.

Stacey, B, Harrison, RM & Pope, F 2020, 'Evaluation of ultrafine particle concentrations and size distributions at London Heathrow Airport', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 222, 117148.

Hama, SML, Kumar, P, Harrison, RM, Bloss, WJ, Khare, M, Mishra, S, Namdeo, A, Sokhi, R, Goodman, P & Sharma, C 2020, 'Four-year assessment of ambient particulate matter and trace gases in the Delhi-NCR region of India', Sustainable Cities and Society, vol. 54, 102003.

Bloss, W, Kramer, L, Crilley, L, Vu, TV, Harrison, RM, Shi, Z, Lee, JD, Squires, F, Whalley, LK, Slater, E, Woodward-massey, R, Ye, C, Heard, DE, Tong, S, Hou, S, Sun, Y, Xu, J, Wei, L & Fu, P 2020, 'Insights into air pollution chemistry and sulphate formation from nitrous acid (HONO) measurements during haze events in Beijing', Faraday Discussions.

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