Spectra: Herts’ new flagship building

Opening in September 2024, our new innovative, sustainable building is the new home for our School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science.

The building will transform the learning, teaching and research experience within the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for our students, researchers and staff. And allow us to continue to expand the services we offer businesses to develop and deliver innovative, real-world solutions.

It will be the largest single structure on campus - set over five floors - and will provide students with the same technology they’ll have access to within their chosen career, while enjoying modern and comfortable social and collaborative spaces.

Aimed at inspiring and developing the next generation of real-world-impacting engineers, computer scientists, mathematicians, and physicists - as well as the STEM leaders of tomorrow - the building will be a hub for innovation, research and enterprise.

It will benefit not only Herts’ community and the wider county in terms of the research that can be advanced within it, and the high-quality skills taught and developed, but it will also serve as a centre for businesses that need access to a high technology environment and world-class academic knowledge and skill.

Exterior of the new Spectra building
Interior picture of the spectra building facilities
Artist impression of seating area inside spectra building
Artist impression of seating and learning area in the spectra building
Artist impression of booths for private study inside the spectra building
Artist impression picture of the interior of the cafe in the spectra building
30 million pounds graphic

Generated through the local economy

360,000 number graphic

People hours spent on the construction of the Spectra building

2021 number graphic

Tonnes of steel used in the building. Equivalent to the weight of 126 double-decker Uno buses

Facilities, research and business opportunities in the Spectra building



Research culture at Herts is defined by a strong spirit of enquiry, innovation and enterprise, and feeds into teaching and learning to enrich students’ experience. Our expert researchers are committed to protecting people and the planet by finding innovative and sustainable solutions to the most critical social, environmental and economic challenges facing society today.

We work with government and industry partners to develop and optimise new biodetection systems for the military and agriculture sectors that can autonomously detect, collect, process and analyse airborne toxins, bacteria and viruses in real time.

The Wolfson Centre for Biodetection and Instrumentation Research will be located on the top floor of the new Spectra building. With a £750,000 grant from the Wolfson Foundation, it will contribute towards top-of-the-range facilities which will advance our internationally-renowned biodetection work, and enhance research and development into biosecurity threats including airborne pathogens, crop diseases and biowarfare.

With funding of £13.5m from Research England – our largest ever research grant – to expand and progress sector-leading, research-led development of biodetection technologies against harmful, airborne pathogens. It will propel our capacity for innovation at Herts at a time where there is an urgent need to enhance our understanding of biological hazards that impact human, plant and animal health, and strengthen our knowledge of atmospheric processes associated with climate change and its impact.

Professor Daniel McCluskey, Dean of the School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science explains why our biodetection research is important for the health and safety of the nation.

Find out more about research at Herts.



Physics, Engineering and Computer Science influence all aspects of our lives and help provide and maintain the modern high technology world that drives economies and society. We prepare students with the skills for that world so they can change lives.

Businesses, industry and the public sector need talented graduates that have the skills and advanced knowledge to work effectively in the modern, high technology world that drives economies and society. We focus on equipping students with the underpinning knowledge and practical skills to solve the challenges of our ever-evolving world. They are taught by exceptional scientists, engineers, computer scientists and mathematicians who are at the forefront of their field.

We also provide local and regional businesses with the facilities and expertise to support them in pioneering new safe structures for the future. Our new structural Strong Floor testing lab is located on the ground floor of the Spectra building and the facilities will be used by companies to test the strength of steel girders and beams for large structural buildings.

If you represent a business who wants to discuss partnering with our School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science, please email business development.



Our courses are designed to reflect the needs of industry now and in the future, and are taught using facilities and equipment that include flight and driving simulators, cybersecurity and specialist robotics laboratories, electronics and physics laboratories. To enhance our facilities and transform the way we educate our students, the new sustainable Spectra building will provide students, staff and businesses with a hub for innovation, research and enterprise.

The multi-purpose, versatile building will accommodate all of the School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science teaching staff and researchers under one roof, enhancing the student experience and creating stronger and more supportive academic communities and teaching spaces. The new facilities will replicate the modern working environments that mirror our students’ future careers, and they will benefit from large Experiential Learning Zones, workshops and laboratories as well as flexible teaching and learning environments.

The building will house modelling, simulation and research labs, including our Merlin Flight Simulator and automotive workshop complete with electric vehicle facility, as well as a Strong Floor testing lab, wind tunnel, welding bay and controls testing suite. Students will have access to state-of-the-art cyber security facilities while the upper floors will provide space for workshops, research and computer science, as well as social and meeting spaces to collaborate and socialise.

The computer science labs house telecommunications, robotics, robotics teaching, human-robot interaction and UX empathy labs. The research spaces and hub include space for dark rooms, clean rooms, sample prep labs, calibration and assembly labs. All of this will support our Research Centres in Astrophysics, Atmospheric and Climate Physics, Climate Change, Biodetection Technologies and Computer Science and Informatics.

Physics, Engineering and Computer Science courses at Herts

If you enjoy creating innovative solutions and love pushing boundaries why not consider one of our undergraduate or postgraduate courses.

Undergraduate courses

Engineering, AI and robotics Computer science Physics, astrophysics and mathematics

Postgraduate courses

Computer science, AI and robotics Engineering Physics, astronomy and mathematics

Would you like to make your mark on our new flagship building?

Many people have a connection with the School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science – and now is your chance to contribute to the facilities for the next generation of students and researchers at Herts.

Donations will directly contribute to funding innovative equipment within our new building, creating many benefits for our students – they’ll be our future innovators so they’ll benefit from the best facilities for years to come. You’ll have a unique opportunity to have your name displayed on the Donor Wall in this incredible space.

Take a look at the time lapse video to see the construction of the building