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News Releases from Region 09

U.S. EPA Awards over $780,000 to UC Riverside to Advance Research Related to Air Quality

Almost $6 Million in Research Funding Awarded Nationwide

Contact Information: 
Soledad Calvino (

LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a Science to Achieve Results (STAR) grant of $784,743 to the University of California Riverside to conduct advanced research into the potential contributions of sources of pollution, such as wildland fires, to air quality challenges.

“Under President Trump, Americans are breathing the cleanest air ever recorded and we are committed to continuing this progress for decades to come,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This EPA-funded research will further our understanding of air quality and help us continue providing clean air for all Americans, regardless of their zip code.”

“California’s universities have well-earned reputations as leaders in science, engineering and research,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “We are pleased to support UC Riverside’s scientific efforts and work toward innovative ideas that will help protect human health and the environment.”

The project—titled ‘Scalable Chemical Mechanisms of Emerging Sources for Community Air Quality Predictions’—is focused on sources of pollution, such as wildland fires and volatile chemical products, and how the chemical mechanisms of such sources can be accounted for in air quality models.

“This award represents an exciting opportunity to build on the UCR/CE-CERT legacy of developing chemical mechanisms to represent the behavior of pollutants in the atmosphere, while addressing the current needs of our communities to represent a broader range of pollutant sources and to predict the air quality impacts of these sources across a wide range of environmental conditions and spatiotemporal scales,” said Associate Professor Kelley Barsanti of UC Riverside’s Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering.

Research supported by these grants will improve air quality models, specifically the ability of models to represent how chemicals react in the atmosphere to form pollutants (known as “chemical mechanisms”). This research will advance our understanding of the sources and chemistry of air pollutants and how they move in the atmosphere. It will also inform the development of strategies for improving air quality.

UC Riverside is among nine universities nationwide awarded almost $6 million by the EPA to improve air quality models used to simulate ozone, particulate matter (PM), regional haze, air toxics, and emerging pollutants.

The other grantees are:

  • Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colo., to gain insights on how emissions from wildfires and volatile chemical products (for example, personal care products, cleaning agents, and coatings) contribute to the formation of fine particles in the atmosphere.
  • Columbia University, New York, N.Y., to develop tools that will improve the computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms for use in air quality models.
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass., to improve modeling of isoprene, halogen, and mercury chemistry; and increase the computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms in a widely used model to support air quality management.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass., to develop a systematic approach towards developing chemical mechanisms for formation of particulate matter from complex organic compounds by using state-of-the science laboratory data.
  • University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, Colo., to incorporate volatile chemical products compounds to current chemical mechanisms to improve air quality model predictions of ozone in U.S. urban areas.
  • University of Illinois, Urbana, Ill., to improve the computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms using machine learning algorithms.
  • University of Maryland, College Park, Md., to develop software packages using machine learning methods to gain insights on atmospheric chemical processes and increase computational efficiency of chemical mechanisms for use in air quality models.
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., to develop and validate a new way of simulating heterogeneous chemistry of dinitrogen pentoxide to improve modeling of ozone and particulate matter.

For more information on EPA’s STAR recipients, please visit:

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