Profile: Roy Harrison

Dr. Roy Harrison, Professor of Environmental Health at the University of Birmingham, UK, and part-time Strategic Theme Leader for Environment, Pollution and Human Health for the UK Natural Environment Research Council. Roy’s research interests focus primarily on air pollutants in the urban environment, ranging from studies of emissions through atmospheric processes to personal exposure and effects on human health. He is also heavily engaged at the science / policy interface in the environmental sciences.

Roy Harrison spent his early years in rural Oxfordshire, England, joining the University of Birmingham (UK) to study for a first degree in Chemistry and subsequently a PhD in Organic Chemistry. He then joined the Department of Civil Engineering at Imperial College, University of London, to undertake postdoctoral work on organo-lead pollution of the atmosphere. This led to appointment to a Lectureship in Atmospheric Chemistry at Lancaster University where he developed interests in a number of air and water pollution processes with a major focus upon lead and other toxic metals. He then moved to take up a position as Reader and Director of the Institute of Aerosol Science at the University of Essex. In addition to continuing earlier work on toxic metals, new lines of research were opened on acidic air pollutants and combustion-generated smokes. In 1991 he moved to the University of Birmingham to take up the newly created position of Queen Elizabeth II Birmingham Centenary Professor of Environmental Health in which he has further developed his interests in air pollution, extending them into the area of health impacts.

Recent work has been focused primarily on airborne particulate matter, including studies of engine exhaust in both the laboratory and the atmosphere, urban air quality processes through both measurement and modelling, personal exposure studies and collaborative studies of particle toxicology, epidemiology and human challenge. He has also been heavily engaged at the science/policy interface and is currently a member of technical advisory groups for the Department of Health and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) including membership of Defra s Science Advisory Council. In recognition of his government advisory work, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2004 New Year Honours List.

Roy can be contacted at; further information may be found on his institutional website at:

Updated: March 2010