Exciting times for science at University of Hertfordshire
- Credit: Pete Stevens - CreativeEmpathy.com
Andrew May, University of Hertfordshire director of estates, on excting times for science at the Hatfield campus
The University of Hertfordshire has opened a £50m science complex - what is the drive behind it?
Our new science building is a significant marker of the university’s future ambition while supplying state-of-the-art laboratory facilities for its students and faculty. The significance of the building was demonstrated by it being opened by the Duke of Edinburgh.
It is a testament to the university’s drive and determination to improve the campus and just one part of an ambitious plan to change the face of the university. This building is at the heart of our 2020 Estates Vision, which will see the campus transformed with new buildings, routes and public spaces by the end of the decade. Once complete, it will deliver a lasting legacy for the university and leave it well positioned to deal with the challenges that now confront the higher-education sector.
What will it mean for students?
The new building has replaced some of the more outdated buildings on our College Lane campus and provides students and faculties with the high-quality accommodation and research technologies they deserve. Not only does it offer improved facilities, but it brings together under one roof laboratories and groups that were previously scattered across the campus and off-site.
The building faces the university’s new boulevard, which links academic buildings to the new residential zone, a 3,000-bed, £120m student accommodation project completed in 2016. This too marks another significant milestone in the 2020 vision.
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The new science facilities provide state-of-the-art laboratories to support student learning in everything from life and medical sciences to computer sciences.
The new building houses laboratories, cutting-edge research technology and areas for informal learning and socialising. It provides a highly-specialised teaching and laboratory space for undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers in the chemistry, biomedical, physics and pharmaceuticals fields.
Will it enable new ways of teaching?
The facilities are equipped with the latest analytical equipment required for teaching. From standard chemistry laboratories, through microbiology, biochemistry, pharmaceutical manufacturing and testing laboratories to an industry standard aseptic manufacturing suite, this new facility provides an excellent learning environment for all laboratory-based science programmes.
The new building also enables the university to expand its clinical-simulation laboratories, incorporating an advanced Simulation Suite providing clinical environments that support teaching for primary, secondary and community care. This enables the university to train students for careers in nursing and midwifery, paramedic sciences, pharmacy, optometry and postgraduate medicine.
Tell us about research at the site
The science building provides unique laboratories to enhance research in our four Research Centres: Topical Drug Delivery and Toxicology, Agriculture Food and Environment Management, Psychology and Sport Sciences, and Health Services and Clinical Research. This facility has also enabled the university to build a robust research community bringing together not only staff but a vibrant PhD community of more than 200 research students.
Our pharmaceutics group is focused on improving the effectiveness of medicines and the way they get into the body. This work has led to a spin-off company, Fluid Pharma, which will develop medicines for those with difficulties swallowing conventional therapies. Microbiology research is focused on antibiotic resistance and our agricultural research group is looking at infections in crops.