The interdisciplinary research of the HICE is structured in four well-defined, interrelated work packages (see figure). Work package I focuses on the characterisation of aerosols. This knowledge is used for exposure experiments and analysis of biological effects in work packages II and III. Work package IV relates to the other work packages: bioinformatical data analysis, experiment planning and data compilation is performed.

The joint management structure consists of the Virtual Institute Management and Administration unit (VIMA) and the Virtual Institute Scientific Steering Board (VISB).