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.

Hama, S, Kumar, P, Alam, MS, Rooney, DJ, Bloss, WJ, Shi, Z, Harrison, RM, Crilley, LR, Khare, M & Gupta, SK 2021, 'Chemical source profiles of fine particles for five different sources in Delhi', Chemosphere, vol. 274, 129913.

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.

Harrison, RM, Vu, TV, Jafar, H & Shi, Z 2021, 'More mileage in reducing urban air pollution from road traffic', Environment International, vol. 149, 106329.

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.

Wu, L, Yue, S, Shi, Z, Hu, W, Chen, J, Ren, H, Deng, J, Ren, L, Fang, Y, Yan, H, Li, W, Harrison, RM & Fu, P 2021, 'Source forensics of inorganic and organic nitrogen using δ15N for tropospheric aerosols over Mt. Tai', npj Climate and Atmospheric Science, vol. 4, no. 1, 8.

Jafar, HA & Harrison, RM 2021, 'Spatial and temporal trends in carbonaceous aerosols in the United Kingdom', Atmospheric Pollution Research, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 295-305.

Bousiotis, D, Brean, J, Pope, FD, Dall'osto, M, Querol, X, Alastuey, A, Perez, N, Petäjä, T, Massling, A, Nøjgaard, JK, Nordstrøm, C, Kouvarakis, G, Vratolis, S, Eleftheriadis, K, Niemi, JV, Portin, H, Wiedensohler, A, Weinhold, K, Merkel, M, Tuch, T & Harrison, RM 2021, 'The effect of meteorological conditions and atmospheric composition in the occurrence and development of new particle formation (NPF) events in Europe', Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, vol. 21, no. 5, pp. 3345-3370.

Aquilina, NJ, Havel, CM, Cheung, P, Harrison, RM, Ho, KF, Benowitz, NL & Jacob, P 2021, 'Ubiquitous atmospheric contamination by tobacco smoke: Nicotine and a new marker for tobacco smoke-derived particulate matter, nicotelline', Environment International, vol. 150, 106417, pp. 106417.

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.

Xu, J, Song, S, Harrison, RM, Song, C, Wei, L, Zhang, Q, Sun, Y, Lei, L, Zhang, C, Yao, X, Chen, D, Li, W, Wu, M, Tian, H, Luo, L, Tong, S, Li, W, Wang, J, Shi, G, Huangfu, Y, Tian, Y, Ge, B, Su, S, Peng, C, Chen, Y, Yang, F, Mihajlidi-zelić, A, Đorđević, D, Swift, SJ, Andrews, I, Hamilton, JF, Sun, Y, Kramawijaya, A, Han, J, Saksakulkrai, S, Baldo, C, Hou, S, Zheng, F, Daellenbach, KR, Yan, C, Liu, Y, Kulmala, M, Fu, P & Shi, Z 2020, 'An interlaboratory comparison of aerosol inorganic ion measurements by ion chromatography: implications for aerosol pH estimate', Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, vol. 13, no. 11, pp. 6325-6341.

Working paper

Shi, Z, Xu , J, Harrison, R, Bloss, W, Allan, J, Barratt, B, Coe, H, Doherty, R, Fu , P, Grimmond, S, Guan , D, Guo , X, Hamilton, J, He , K, Heard, D, Hewitt, N, Jones, R, Kalberer, M, Kelly, F, Lee, J, Lewis, A, Li , J, Loh, M, Miller, M, Monks, P, Netmitz, E, Palmer, P, Reeves, C, Shao, L, Sun, Z, Tao , S, Tong , S, Whalley, L, Wang , X, Wild, O, Wu , Z, Xie , P, Zhang , Q, Zheng, M & Zhu , T 2021 'Atmospheric pollution and human health in a Chinese megacity (APHH-Beijing) programme: final report' University of Birmingham.

Shi 时宗波, Z, Xu 徐婧莎, J, Harrison, R, Bloss, W, Allan, J, Barratt, B, Coe, H, Doherty, R, Fu 傅平青, P, Grimmond, S, Guan 关大博, D, Guo 郭新彪, X, Hamilton, J, He 贺克斌, K, Heard, D, Hewitt, N, Jones, R, Kalberer, M, Kelly, F, Lee, J, Lewis, A, Li 李杰, J, Loh, M, Miller, M, Monks, P, Netmitz, E, Palmer, P, Reeves, C, Shao 邵龙义, L, Sun 孙志伟, Z, Tao 陶澍, S, Tong 佟胜睿, S, Whalley, L, Wang 王新明, X, Wang 王学军, X, Wild, O, Wu 吴志军, Z, Xie 谢品华, P, Zhang 张强, Q, Zheng 郑玫, M & Zhu 朱彤, T 2021 '中国超大城市空气污染和人体健康 (APHH-Beijing) 中英联合研究计划: 最终报告' University of Birmingham.

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Air pollution; environment and health; toxic chemicals

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