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


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 2020, 'Contribution of Water-Soluble Organic Matter from Multiple Marine Geographic Eco-Regions to Aerosols around Antarctica', Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 54, pp. 7807-7817 .

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.

de Jesus, AL, Thompson, H, Knibbs, LD, Kowalski, M, Cyrys, J, Niemi, JV, Kousa, A, Timonen, H, Luoma, K, Petaja, T, Beddows, D, Harrison, R, Hopke, PK & Morawska, L 2020, 'Long-term trends in PM2.5 mass and particle number concentrations in urban air: the impacts of mitigation measures and extreme events due to changing climates', Environmental Pollution, vol. 263, no. Part A, 114500.

Zhong, J, Nikolova, I, Cai, X, Mackenzie, AR, Alam, MS, Xu, R, Singh, A & Harrison, RM 2020, 'Neighbourhood-scale dispersion of traffic-induced ultrafine particles in central London: WRF large eddy simulations', Environmental Pollution, vol. 266, 115223.

Lachlan-Cope, T, Beddows, D, Brough, N, Jones, AE, Harrison, R, Lupi, A, Jun Yoon, Y, Virkkula, A & Dall'Osto, M 2020, 'On the annual variability of Antarctic aerosol size distributions at Halley research station', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 20, no. 7, pp. 4461-4476.

Wu, X, Chen, C, Vu, TV, Liu, D, Baldo, C, Shen, X, Zhang, Q, Cen, K, Zheng, M, He, K, Shi, Z & Harrison, RM 2020, 'Source apportionment of fine organic carbon (OC) using receptor modelling at a rural site of Beijing: Insight into seasonal and diurnal variation of source contributions', Environmental Pollution, vol. 266, 115078.

Wu, X, Chen , C, VU, VT, Liu, D, Baldo, C, Shen, X, Zhang , Q, Cen , K, Zheng, M, He, K, Shi, Z & Harrison, R 2020, 'Source apportionment of fine organic carbon (OC) using receptor modelling at a rural site of Beijing: Insight into seasonal and diurnal variation of source contributions', Environmental Pollution.

Rivas, I, Beddows, D, Amato, F, Green, DC, Jarvi, L, Hueglin, C, Reche, C, Timonen, H, Fuller, GW, Niemi, JV, Perez, N, Aurela, M, Hopke, PK, Alastuey, A, Kulmala, M, Harrison, R, Querol, X & Kelly, FJ 2020, 'Source apportionment of particle number size distribution in urban background and traffic stations in four European cities', Environment International, vol. 135, 105345.

Bryant, DJ, Dixon, WJ, Hopkins, JR, Dunmore, RE, Pereira, KL, Shaw, M, Squires, FA, Bannan, TJ, Mehra, A, Worrall, SD, Bacak, A, Coe, H, Percival, CJ, Whalley, LK, Heard, DE, Slater, EJ, Ouyang, B, Cui, T, Surratt, JD, Liu, D, Shi, Z, Harrison, R, Sun, Y, Xu, W, Lewis, AC, Lee, JD, Rickard, AR & Hamilton, JF 2020, 'Strong anthropogenic control of secondary organic aerosol formation from isoprene in Beijing', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 20, pp. 7531–7552.

Şahin, ÜA, Onat, B, Akın, Ö, Ayvaz, C, Uzun, B, Mangır, N, Doğan, M & Harrison, RM 2020, 'Temporal variations of atmospheric black carbon and its relation to other pollutants and meteorological factors at an urban traffic site in Istanbul', Atmospheric Pollution Research, vol. 11, pp. 1051-1062.

Zhong, J, Nikolova, I, Cai, X, MacKenzie, AR, Alam, S, Xu, R, Singh, A & Harrison, R 2020, 'Traffic-induced multicomponent ultrafine particle microphysics in the WRF v3.6.1 large eddy simulation model: general behaviour from idealised scenarios at the neighbourhood-scale', Atmospheric Environment, vol. 223, 117213.

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