Air quality in megacities Faraday Discussion

18 - 20 November 2020, Beijing, China

Phishing Warning
We are aware that some speakers and delegates have been approached by companies claiming to operate on behalf of the Royal Society of Chemistry to book their travel and accommodation for our conferences. Please note that whilst we do sometimes work with accommodation providers in order to facilitate hotel bookings, they would never approach you in the first instance. Details of accommodation providers that we are working with are in the ‘accommodation’ section of this webpage. If you are unsure about an e-mail / phone call you receive, please contact us and do not provide any credit card details or personal information.


On behalf of the scientific committee, we extend a warm invitation to you to join us in the city of Beijing, China in November 2020 to discuss the important issue of air quality in megacities. As one of the largest cities in China and with an estimated population in excess of twenty-four million people, Beijing is an ideal venue for this discussion, while also being home to many world famous attractions. The meeting will take place at Tsinghua University, one of the top universities in China
Faraday Discussions are unique international scientific conferences that focus on rapidly developing areas of chemistry and their interfaces with other scientific disciplines. Many Discussions have become landmarks in their field, and I hope you will join us at this Discussion to make your contribution to this famous series of meetings.
The meeting will be of interest to established scientists as well as post-graduate students and industrial researchers across a diverse range of disciplines, from atmospheric chemists and air quality scientists to meteorologists and atmospheric physicists. 
This will be the fourth Faraday Discussion to take place in China and we look forward to welcoming you to Beijing - we very much hope you will join us.
Roy Harrison, University of Birmingham, UK
Chair, Air quality in megacities
Kebin He, Tsinghua University, China
Local host, Air quality in megacities


The Royal Society of Chemistry is keen to encourage and enable as many people as possible to attend our events, to benefit from the networking opportunities and the chance to hear talks from leaders in the field. If you would like to discuss accessibility, or have childcare, caring responsibilities or other care needs, please contact us to discuss your requirements so that we can enable your attendance. Please refer also to our Grants for carers fund, for more information please see the ‘bursaries’ section on this page


Air pollution is rarely out of the news nowadays. Very high levels of pollution have been observed in many cities across both developing economies of the world and developed world cities with varying degrees of regularity.
Science, and chemistry in particular, has a major role to play both in understanding the causes of high air pollutant concentrations and also in informing the development of cost-effective mitigation strategies.
Predicting urban air quality demands detailed knowledge of both the physical properties (thermodynamics and dynamics) of the urban atmosphere and pollutants within it, and the chemical reactions of those pollutants which can transform one pollutant into another and which have a major impact on measured levels.  It is also necessary to understand the relative contributions of local emissions and of pollutants transported into the city from more distant sources. 


Faraday Discussions remain amongst the only conferences to distribute the speakers’ research papers in advance, allowing the majority of each meeting to be devoted to discussion in which all delegates can participate.  Following each meeting a written record of the discussion is published alongside the papers in the Faraday Discussions journal.

Find out more about the Faraday Discussions in this video:


Chemistry plays a role both for the transported and the local emissions, and whereas for the primary (emitted) pollutants, concentrations are likely to be reduced proportionately with reductions in emissions, in the case of secondary pollutants formed within the atmosphere, the relationship between precursor emissions and reaction products is often strongly non-linear.  This discussion aims to improve our understanding of the underlying processes responsible; an essential pre-requisite to developing the high quality numerical models of urban air pollutants which are required to develop and test mitigation strategies prior to implementation. 

The Faraday Discussion will be organised into the following themes:

Current status and trends in air quality in megacities
Looking globally at the current status of urban air quality and examining critically for different pollutants, this session will examine whether the air quality is currently improving or deteriorating, with reasons for those changes being examined. 
Physico-chemical processes in the urban atmosphere (neighbourhood scale)
Focusing on new knowledge of the chemical and physical evolution of pollutants on a range of scales from street to neighbourhood, this session will focus on this key scale for understanding the evolution and processing of pollutants from road traffic and from other low-level sources. The interaction of locally-emitted primary pollutants with the general urban background will be considered.   

Physico-chemical processes in the urban atmosphere (city scale)
There are many processes which are significant on the scale of an entire urban area which, due to their timescale, do not proceed significantly on the neighbourhood scale, e.g. formation of nitrate aerosol and the oxidation of sulphur dioxide to sulphate. Both processes are substantially enhanced by multi-phase processes in which the presence of haze catalyses the chemical formation of further condensed phase material.  The haze also inhibits mixing within the lower atmosphere, hence increasing concentrations.  This session will also discuss the interaction of urban emissions with the regional background.  

Effects, mitigation and policy
The ultimate value of scientific research in the urban atmosphere is to provide the knowledge necessary to develop high quality numerical models of urban atmospheric processes and from these to develop mitigation strategies.  Knowledge of effects on human health are also critical in that they are an essential component of cost-benefit studies and identifying policy priorities.

Grants for Carers

Grants for carers have been introduced following the Royal Society of Chemistry Breaking the barriers report where 78% of chemists working in UK academia felt that managing parenting and/or caring responsibilities has an impact on women’s retention and progression. This fund is not limited to women scientists and welcomes applications from anyone with caring responsibilities. These grants have been supported by The Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemists’ Community Fund.

You can apply for up to a maximum of £1000/year to assist with additional financial costs that you incur for care usually provided by you whilst you attend a chemistry related meeting, conference or workshop or a professional development event.
Caring responsibilities are wide and varied, and so each application will be individually assessed, examples of applications that we will consider include:
  • paying for extra home help or nursing care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • additional medical/respite care for a dependent whilst you will not be present
  • travel expenses for a relative to travel with you to care for dependents whilst you attend a meeting or event
  • paying for extended hours with a care worker/childminder/play scheme to cover time when you will arrive home later than normal.
You are eligible to apply if:
  • you are a chemist
  • you will incur additional caring expenses whilst attending a chemistry-related meeting, conference, event or workshop or a professional development event
  • you will use these funds to cover the cost of care that you usually provide
  • you are based in the UK or Ireland or if not, you will normally have held three years RSC membership (past or current).
Sponsorship & supporting organisations
School of Environment, Tsinghua University
School of Environment, Tsinghua University

School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Tsinghua University, Beijing, 100084, China

There is no accommodation provider for this event.

Contact information
Showing all upcoming events
Start Date
End Date
Subject area
Event type


E-mail Enquiry