Russell Group of Universities agrees to expand

12 March 2012

The Russell Group of research-intensive universities is to expand its current membership of 20 to include four more institutions. 

The Russell Group represents 20 leading research-intensive universities in the UK which are committed to maintaining the very best research, an outstanding teaching and learning experience, and unrivalled links with business and the public sector. 

Prof Michael Arthur, Chair of the Russell Group, said:

“We are delighted to announce that the Russell Group board has invited four more members to join the group, all of whom have accepted. 

“Durham, Exeter, Queen Mary and York have demonstrated that - like all other Russell Group members - they excel in research, innovation and education and have a critical mass of research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.” 

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“Our global competitors are pumping billions into research and higher education and snapping at our heels. The UK cannot afford to be outmanoeuvred by other countries who clearly recognize that investment in their leading universities is the key to growth. 

“I look forward to working with our new members to make sure the UK remains a global leader in higher education and continues to reap the economic and social benefits that our leading research-intensive universities provide.”

Notes to editors

  1. The current members of the Russell Group are the University of Birmingham, University of Bristol, University of Cambridge, Cardiff University, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow, Imperial College London, King's College London, University of Leeds, University of Liverpool, London School of Economics & Political Science, University of Manchester,  Newcastle University, University of Nottingham, University of Oxford, Queen's University Belfast, University of Sheffield,  University of Southampton, University College London, and University of Warwick.
  2. The Russell Group was formed in 1994 soon after the university sector expanded and diversified. It was initially convened by a group of Vice Chancellors with a particular interest in world-class research and education. In 2006 the Russell Group appointed its first Director General, Dr Wendy Piatt, to turn the Russell Group into a company limited by guarantee in order to provide strategy, policy development and communications for its members. 
  3. The UK has just 3 per cent of the world’s researchers but generates 6 per cent of the world’s academic articles, 11 per cent of citations, and 14 per cent of the most cited papers - second only to the US. The 2008 Research Assessment Exercise found that more than 60 per cent of the UK’s very best (‘world leading’) research took place in Russell Group universities and on average, twice as much of the research undertaken at Russell Group universities is ‘world leading’ compared to the rest of the sector.
  4. The 2011 National Student Survey shows 87 per cent of students are satisfied with the quality of their university course across Russell Group universities, compared with 83 per cent across universities in the UK.  89 per cent of students at Russell Group universities rate the quality of teaching and learning as good or excellent, compared to a sector-wide average of 85 per cent.
  5. Current Russell Group members have a total economic output of £22.3 billion a year and equivalent of 40 per cent of the total output for the sector. They are responsible for supporting 243,000 jobs UK-wide and are a major UK export industry, with overseas earnings of more than £2billion per annum - 38 per cent of total export earnings for the sector.

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