Scholarship Code CU1.03

The role of new particle formation in atmospheric nanoparticles levels in urban areas

  • Reference person
  • Host University/Institute
    Università di Modena e Reggio Emilia
  • Internship
  • Research Keywords
    Atmospheric modelling
    Urban areas
  • Reference ERCs
    PE10_1 Atmospheric chemistry, atmospheric composition, air pollution
    PE10_3 Climatology and climate change
  • Reference SDGs
    GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, GOAL 13: Climate Action


Atmospheric aerosols have largeimpact on air quality, human health, weather and climate, with importantsocietal implications. Regarding its impact on air quality, both the chemicalcomposition and the size of aerosols is critical, with smaller particlesshowing a larger potential to give severe health effects, particularly incities where most of world’s population resides. To improve our understandingof the role of potential sources of nanoparticles in urban areas, specificexperimental measurements are needed, featuring instruments for the detectionof nanoparticles at a fine size and time resolution. The project will focus onnew particle formation (NPF) processes in a pilot urban area, based on a wideset of cutting edge aerosol analysers deployed in a collaborative effort alongwith the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the National ResearchCouncil. The activity will start with a literature review to gain an up-to-dateview on this topic, on the observational methods and the most suitable dataanalysis tools. The main expected activities are: – assuring the experimentalmonitoring of nanoparticles size distribution – analysing the data collectedfrom these and ancillary observations. The expected results are: – thecorrelation of NPF to aerosol properties, gas precursors and meteorology – anassessment of the role of NPF on urban nanoparticles for the pilot area – thedelivery of this research at International conferences and on high impactjournals.

Suggested skills:

The candidate is expected to have asolid background in physics, math, earth/environmental sciences or relateddisciplines, as well as experience in the analysis of observational data and/ornumerical simulations. A training in atmospheric chemistry/physics, dataanalysis and atmospheric modelling are considered an asset.

Research team and environment

The activities will be hosted at the LARMA Lab of the Dept. of Engineering “Enzo Ferrari” (,and will include a collaboration with ISAC-CNR Bologna and  INAR at the University of Helsinki. LARMA includes 10 scientists among professors, research technicians, postdocs and PhD students, working on atmospheric modelling and monitoring by regulatory and non-regulatory devices. The lab has International collaborations in EU with several partners of the ACTRIS and ICOS Infrastructures and collaborates with the Regional Environmental Agency. The team is also in charge of the Geophysical Observatory of Modena ( and of the local AERONET sun photometer.