Air quality in megacities Faraday Discussion

18 - 20 November 2020, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

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.
We understand that there is continuing uncertainty regarding the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on our scheduled events. We are keeping our programme under review and as appropriate we will actively explore alternatives, such as postponement or transitioning to a virtual conference, in case these may be needed. We fully understand that it is difficult for delegates to make travel and conference plans at this time. However we encourage delegates to continue to submit their abstracts and to register for the conference without risk as we are happy to refund registration fees at a later date if the conference plans change. We will contact all registered delegates as soon as possible with any changes to planned events, and the latest information on the conference schedule, registration details and any programme changes will be announced on these web pages. If you have any questions please contact us. We remain grateful for your support.

Please note that the venue for this event has changed to Edinburgh


On behalf of the scientific committee, we extend a warm invitation to you to join us in the city of Edinburgh, UK in November 2020 to discuss the important issue of air quality in megacities.
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. 
We look forward to welcoming you to Edinburgh- we very much hope you will join us.

Roy Harrison, University of Birmingham, UK
Chair, Air quality in megacities
Kebin He, Tsinghua University, China
Co-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.
Abstract Submission

Oral Abstracts and Research Papers

A full research paper containing new unpublished results always accompanies oral presentations at Faraday Discussions. Submit an oral/paper abstract by 23 March 2020 if you wish to be considered for an oral presentation and associated published paper. The oral/paper abstract should outline current research in progress. Authors of the selected abstracts must then submit a full research paper with a significant amount of new, unpublished work by 29 June 2020.

The research papers are reviewed upon submission and are emailed to all delegates 4 weeks before the meeting so they can be read in advance. At the meeting the presenting author is allowed five minutes to highlight the main points of their paper, and the rest of the time is for discussion. The discussion is recorded and will be published alongside the research paper in the Faraday Discussion Volume.  

Poster Abstracts

Submit your poster abstract by 7 September 2020. Posters are displayed throughout the meeting and a poster session is held on the first evening. The Faraday Division Poster Prize will be awarded to the best poster presented by a student at the conference.

Additional Information

Authors will be notified of the outcome of the review process within about 6 weeks of the submission deadline. The abstracts should be no longer than one A4 page in portrait layout. Please ensure you provide the details of the presenting author and indicate whether you are submitting an abstract for oral or poster presentation.
Please read the registration information before registering.  You can register by clicking on the online registration link on this page.  Please note accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

For non-member registrants attending this event, affiliate membership of the Royal Society of Chemistry is available until the end of 2021, the affiliate membership application will be processed and commence once the registrant has attended the event.

Registration includes:
  • Attendance at the sessions
  • Refreshments throughout the meeting
  • Lunch on all 3 days
  • Attendance at the poster drinks reception on Wednesday 18 November
  • Attendance at the conference dinner on Thursday 19 November
  • A digital copy of the discussion pre-prints
  • A copy of the final theme issue of Faraday Discussion Volume containing papers presented at the Discussion (issued approximately 6 months after the meeting)**
Regsitration fees are as follows (subject to VAT at the prevaling rate):
Early Bird Standard
Members* £304.17 £350
Non-members £395.83 £441.67
Student members* £145.83 £191.67
Student non-members £170.83 £216.67
Guest fee *** £110 £110

* If you are an Royal Society of Chemistry member and wish to register for this meeting, please select the member option on the online registration page. You will need to enter your membership number.

 **Excluding students, who can order the volume at a reduced price at the conference. 

*** This includes all lunches, refreshments and the conference dinner but does not include attendance at any scientific sessions.​

Student Delegates

In order to encourage undergraduate or postgraduate students to attend the Discussion, a reduced conference fee (to include a set of pre-prints but not the final Discussion Volume) is available. This fee applies to those undertaking a full time course for a recognised degree or a diploma at a university or equivalent institution.

A copy of the publication may be purchased at less than half price, only for orders placed at the meeting where an application form will be made available. 

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner on Thursday 19 November is included in the regsitration fee. 

Travel and Health Insurance

Delegates are advised to ensure that they have appropriate travel and health insurance.
Book now

Terms and Conditions for Events run by the Royal Society of Chemistry


In light of COVID-19, we are not currently accepting applications to our Travel Grant for PhD Students and Early Career Scientists. We will update our Travel Grants website with more information as it becomes available.

We have two types of grants available to attend this meeting:

  • A limited number of non-competitive travel grants of up to £200 are available for PhD students and early career scientists. These are assigned on a first come, first served basis.  Applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
  • Competitive grants of up to £800 are available to assist with international travel expenses for PhD students, postdocs within 10 years of completing their PhD and early career scientists (including technicians and industrialists) within 10 years of leaving full time education. In addition, applicants must be Royal Society of Chemistry members of any level at the time of making their application.
To take advantage of these grants and many other benefits, become a member. Follow the link on the right hand side to find out more and join today!

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).
John McIntyre Conference Centre

John McIntyre Conference Centre, University of Edinburgh, 18 Holyrood Park Road, Edinburgh, EH16 5AY, United Kingdom

Please note that accommodation is not included in the registration fee.

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


E-mail Enquiry