Russell Group

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Russell Group
Russell Group logo.jpg
Formation 1994
Type Association of United Kingdom-based universities
Headquarters London, United Kingdom
Region served
United Kingdom
Membership
Key people
Wendy Piatt
(Director General)
David Eastwood (Chairman)
Website www.russellgroup.ac.uk

The Russell Group is an association of 24 British public research universities. It is headquartered in London and was established in 1994 to represent its members' interests, principally to government and parliament; 19 smaller British research universities formed the 1994 Group in response, which has since dissolved. In 2010, Russell Group members received approximately two-thirds of all university research grant and contract income in the United Kingdom.[1]

As of May 2004, Russell Group members awarded 56% of all doctorates awarded in the United Kingdom, and over 30% of all students studying in the United Kingdom from outside the EU.[1] In the 2001 national Research Assessment Exercise, 78% of the staff in Grade 5* departments and 57% of the staff in Grade 5 departments were located in Russell Group universities.[1]

The Russell Group is so named because the first informal meetings of the Group took place at the Hotel Russell in Russell Square, London, generally shortly before meetings of Universities UK (formerly known as Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, or CVCP) in Tavistock Square.[2]

History[edit]

The Russell Group was formed in 1994 by 17 British research universities – Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Imperial College London, Leeds, Liverpool, London School of Economics, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Sheffield, Southampton, University College London and Warwick.[3] In 1998 Cardiff University and King's College London joined the group.[4] In March 2001 the Russell Group decided against selecting a preferred option for the future funding of higher education, stating that endowments, a graduate contribution, increased public funding and top-up fees should all remain options.[5] In December 2005 it was announced that the Russell Group would be appointing its first full-time director-general as a result of a planned expansion of its operations, including commissioning and conducting its own policy research.[6] In November 2006 Queen's University Belfast was admitted as the twentieth member of the group.[3] In the same month Wendy Piatt, the then deputy director in the Prime Minister's strategy unit, was announced as the group's new Director General and chief executive.[3]

In March 2012 it was announced that four universities – Durham, Exeter, Queen Mary University of London; and York – would become members of the Russell Group in August of the same year.[2] All of the new members had previously been members of the 1994 Group of British universities.[2]

In January 2013 it was announced that the Russell Group would establish an academic board to advise the British exams watchdog Ofqual on the content of A-Levels.[7]

Organisation[edit]

Objectives[edit]

The Russell Group states that its objectives are to:

  • lead the research efforts of the United Kingdom;
  • maximise the income of its member institutions;
  • attract the best staff and students to its member institutions;
  • create a regulatory environment in which it can achieve these objectives by reducing government interference; and
  • identify ways to co-operate to exploit the universities' collaborative advantage.[1]

It works towards these objectives by lobbying the UK government and parliament; commissioning reports and research; creating a forum in which its member institutions can discuss issues of common concern; and identify opportunities for them to work together.

Leadership[edit]

The Russell Group is led by Wendy Piatt, the Director General and chief executive, and chaired by David Eastwood, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Birmingham. Piatt previously worked as Deputy Director in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and as former head of education at the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).[8]

Members[edit]

The Russell Group currently has twenty four members, of which twenty are from England, two from Scotland, and one from each of Wales and Northern Ireland. Of the English members, five are from Greater London; three from the Yorkshire and the Humber region; two from each of the North East, North West, West Midlands, South West and South East regions; and one from each of the East Midlands and East regions.

The table below gives the members of the group, along with the date in which they received Royal Charters and their Vice-Chancellors.

University[9] Year of
Royal Chartera
Year of joining Total students Total income
(2012/13, £,000)[10]
Research income
(2012/13, £,000)[10]
Current vice-chancellorb
University of Birmingham 1900 1994 26,073 492,625 104,588 David Eastwood
University of Bristol 1909 1994 18,770 459,200 120,100 Eric Thomas
University of Cambridge 1231 1994 18,448 1,438,000 f 331,800 Sir Leszek Borysiewicz
Cardiff University 1883 1998 30,930 436,685 88,211 Colin Riordan
Durham University 1837 2012 16,355 283,379 50,612 Chris Higgins
University of Edinburgh 1583 1994 30,377 737,786 200,123 Sir Timothy O'Shea
University of Exeter 1955 2012 17,950 298,542 54,346 Sir Steve Smith
University of Glasgow 1451 1994 23,162 468,953 128,090 Anton Muscatelli
Imperial College Londonc 1907 1994 13,410 823,800 329,500 Sir Keith O'Nions
King's College Londonc 1829 1998 18,630 586,948 164,025 Sir Rick Trainor
University of Leeds 1904 1994 33,585 547,601 128,554 Sir Alan Langlands
University of Liverpool 1903 1994 20,655 472,500 124,600 Sir Howard Newby
London School of Economics and Political Sciencec 1895 1994 8,810 263,213 23,731 Craig Calhoun
University of Manchester 2004 d 1994 39,165 826,970 199,622 Dame Nancy Rothwell
Newcastle University 1963 1994 19,700 415,200 93,400 Chris Brink
University of Nottingham 1948 1994 35,175 560,900 111,800 David Greenaway
University of Oxford 1248 1994 21,535 1,086,900 436,800 Andrew Hamilton
Queen Mary University of Londonc 1934 e 2012 14,820 323,609 81,272 Simon Gaskell
Queen's University Belfast 1908 2006 24,955 288,552 61,834 Patrick Johnston
University of Sheffield 1905 1994 26,960 484,800 114,400 Sir Keith Burnett
University of Southampton 1952 1994 23,315 447,221 102,376 Don Nutbeam
University College Londonc 1836 1994 23,250 940,019 334,733 Michael Arthur
University of Warwick 1965 1994 28,165 459,600 83,700 Nigel Thrift
University of York 1963 2012 15,265 294,701 49,824 Koen Lamberts

Notes:
a The year in which a Royal Charter was granted, where known; in some cases the year of foundation may be earlier.
b Several universities do not use the title vice-chancellor for the administrative head of the university, and some use it in addition to other titles. The Russell Group lists all university heads as vice-chancellors[11]
c Four of the five London-based members (King's College London, University College London, London School of Economics and Political Science and Queen Mary University of London) are constituent colleges of the federal University of London. The fifth London member, Imperial College London, was a college of the University of London but left in 2007.
d Date of merger of UMIST and Victoria University of Manchester (Gained their Royal Charters in 1956 and 1880 respectively)
e Westfield College was established at an earlier date but the merged Queen Mary and Westfield College did not achieve Royal Charter until this date.
f Includes Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press; excludes colleges.[12]

Research[edit]

In 2010/11, 19 of the 20 UK universities with the highest income from research grants and contracts were members of the Russell Group.[10] In terms of total research funding allocations from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in 2007/8, the top 15 universities were all Russell Group institutions.[13] LSE was 21st, due to its focus on less costly social sciences research. Queen's University Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and Edinburgh, were not included in this table, as they are not English institutions. The Russell Group institutions received 82% of the total HEFCE research funding allocation.[13]

The research funding figures depend on factors other than the quality of research, in particular there are variations due to institutional size and subject spread (e.g. science, technology and medicine tend to attract more money).

In 2008, 18 of the 20 members were positioned in the top 20 of Research Fortnight's Research Assessment Exercise 'Power' Table (the other two places being occupied by then non-Russell Group members, Durham University and Queen Mary University of London).[14]

Rankings[edit]

University ARWU (Global)a[15] QS (Global)a[16] THE (Global)a[17] Complete (National)b[18] Guardian (National)b[19] The Times (National)b[20]
University of Birmingham 101–150 62 158 17 30 24
University of Bristol 70 30 74 15 18 11
University of Cambridge 5 3 7 1 1 2
Cardiff University 151–200 136 201–225 35 40 32
Durham University 201–300 90 80 5 7 5
University of Edinburgh 51 17 32 18 15 14
University of Exeter 201–300 168 153 10 10 10
University of Glasgow 151–200 51 139 23 14 15
Imperial College London 24 5 8 4 13 4
King's College London 68 19 57 19 31 22
University of Leeds 151–200 97 142 23 37 30
University of Liverpool 101–150 130 171 38 45 29
London School of Economics 101–150 68 39 3 3 3
University of Manchester 40 33 49 25 41 33
Newcastle University 201–300 129 180 22 33 23
University of Nottingham 86 75 120 24 26 20
University of Oxford 10 6 2 2 2 1
Queen Mary University of London 201–300 115 145 35 36 37
Queen's University Belfast 301–400 172 276–300 29 53 35
University of Sheffield 101–150 71 110 26 42 21
University of Southampton 151–200 86 130 20 22 18
University College London 21 4 17 7 6 7
University of Warwick 151–200 64 124 8 5 8
University of York 201–300 124 103 12 17 13

Notes:
a Global ranking; latest available year (2011–2012)
b National ranking; latest available year (2013)

Aldwych Group[edit]

In response to the Russell Group's support for tuition fees (and other issues), in 1994 the students' unions of the member universities formed the Aldwych Group[21] as a parallel organisation to represent what they perceive to be the common interests of their students. It was established by money saving expert Martin Lewis (who was general secretary of LSE Students' Union in 1994/5) as a watchdog in response to the creation of the Russell Group.[22][23][24]

The Aldwych Group is so called because it was established at a meeting at the London School of Economics and Political Science, which is located on Aldwych.

Aside from the unions of the Russell Group universities (above), the Aldwych Group is also observed by three other bodies:

Criticisms[edit]

Protectionism[edit]

The Institute of Economic Affairs has argued that the Russell Group acts out of protectionist interests. It is claimed that this will "restrict competition, discourage innovation and encourage inefficiency, thereby depriving students of lower prices and/or greater choice".[25]

Tuition fees[edit]

The Russell Group has been prominent in recent years in the debate over the introduction of tuition fees, a measure which it has strongly supported – much to the dismay of the universities' students' unions. Indeed, members of the Group argued that even the fees proposed by the controversial Higher Education Bill would not be sufficient to cover the rising cost of undergraduate teaching, and successfully argued for the right to charge variable fees at much higher rates, so-called top-up fees.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "The Russell Group Homepage". Retrieved 26 June 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c "Four universities join elite Russell Group". BBC News. 12 March 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Queen's gets key to Russell club door". Times Higher Education. 9 November 2006. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Do you want to be in my gang?". Times Higher Education. 19 November 2009. Retrieved 1 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Russell Group keeps funding options open". Times Higher Education. 23 March 2001. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  6. ^ "Russell Group seeks leader to oversee its expanded role". Times Higher Education. 9 December 2005. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Russell Group to advise on A-level content in post-16 shake-up". Times Higher Education. 23 January 2013. Retrieved 27 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Crace, John (14 November 2006). "Wendy Piatt: The vice-chancellors' new velvet glove". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  9. ^ "Russell Group: Our Universities". Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c "University financial health check 2014". Times Higher Education. 17 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  11. ^ "Russell Group: Vice-chancellors". Retrieved 3 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Reports and financial statements for the year ended 31 July 2013". Cambridge University Reporter. Retrieved 20 March 2014. 
  13. ^ a b "Hefce funding allocations 2007–08: All institutions". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  14. ^ [1]'s RAE 2008 Power table
  15. ^ Kingdom "Academic Ranking of World Universities – 2012 – United Kingdom". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "QS World University Rankings 2013". QS. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  17. ^ "THE World University Rankings 2012–2013". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  18. ^ "Top UK University League Tables and Rankings 2013". Complete University Guide. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "University guide 2013: University league table". The Guardian (London). 21 May 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2013. 
  20. ^ "The Times Good University Guide 2013". The Good University Guide (London). Retrieved 17 April 2013. (subscription required)
  21. ^ Aldwych Group homepage
  22. ^ Student group threatens to boycott national survey, Guardian, 20 January 2006
  23. ^ Universities slam Willetts' 'cut-price' degrees scheme, Independent, 13 May 2011
  24. ^ "What about tax incentives for parents paying university fees?". The Guardian (London). 8 May 2001. 
  25. ^ Institute of Economic Affairs: James Stanfield

External links[edit]