Talk:Russell Group

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The emphasis on comparisons with ivy league[edit]

Out of the five paragraphs in the introduction, two of them are devoted to detailed comparisons of the group to the ivy league. For an introductory paragraph, these comparisons are probably inappropriate. As there is much to be said on the matter, however, perhaps these points could be placed under a separate heading pertaining to comparisons with US university leagues. It would certainly make the introduction more relavent to British readers (to whom the group is mostly of interest to) by removing references to US universities which the reader cannot be expected to have any knowledge on.

"An example of the mistakes that are made about the constituents of the Russell Group is the study done by the Centre for the Economics of Education that found that graduates from Russell Group universities earn more on average than those from other universities."

- This study lists the constituents of the Russell Group correctly. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Moved POV material

, though some top research universities (notably the University of Durham and the University of York) are not members

....that's like saying MIT is not a member of the Ivy League - so what?

- MIT isn't a member of the Ivy League? I didn't know that. The perception this side of the Atlantic is that "Ivy League" refers to all of the top universities in America, and the Russell Group like to be thought of in the same way. It frequently makes public pronouncements, and lobbies the government, on issues such as top-up fees (variable fee rates for students - a big debate in UK HE at the moment) where it claims to represent the UK's prestigious, research-led universities. Missing out Durham and York, along with St Andrews - Scotland's oldest university and the place Prince William has chosen to study. Additionally, there has often been confusion in the press about whether these universities are in the Russell Group:

"It has long been a dream of the UK's university leaders to form their own version of the Ivy League. Called the Russell Group, after the hotel in Russell Square, London, where the first meeting of leading institutions was held to discuss the plans, it includes Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Bristol, Imperial College, London, and Durham." (The Observer, 1st of December, 2002)

"members of the Russell group of elite universities, which includes Oxford,LSE Cambridge, Bristol, Manchester, Durham and Imperial College London, wanted to be allowed to charge at least £4,000 a year." (The Guardian, 20th of March, 2003)

"The Russell Group is made up of the top 20 research universities in the country including universities such as Bristol, Nottingham, York and Durham. The Vice Chancellors of many of these universities are lobbying the government to let them set the fees that they can charge. This would mean that students would pay more to go to a popular university and could end up paying according to their course." (Bristol Students' Union - one of the members of the Aldwych Group of Russell Group Students' Unions)

"The Russell Group, which as well as Oxford and Cambridge includes universities such as Durham, Leeds and Manchester, would almost certainly form the basis of the new group." (Sunday Telegraph, 13th of February, 2000)

I think it is clear that there is a confusion here that needs to be explicitly addressed. This is, to me, sufficient justification for including the statement that certain Universities, which would generally be considered among the Russell Group in terms of prestige, are not actually members.

Robminchin 14:30, 24 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Quality is a factor, in addition to quality:and many of them also have very high government ratings for the calibre of their research.

I've removed the above from the text, as it doesn't make sense, and adds very little anyway. If there is a genuine point that was trying to be made here, it needs rewording. - IMSoP 19:25, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The paragraph detailing the statistics of which universities are where in terms of research funding, etc, is rather verbose at the moment, and reads like part of a discussion, rather than actually expressing the facts. Perhaps someone could refactor it into something more readable. - IMSoP 19:39, 6 Feb 2004 (UTC)

The first paragraph states that neither the Ivy league nor the Russel Group are comprehensive lists of the top universities. It then goes on to say that because of this obvious similarity the statement 'the Russel group is a kind of British Ivy League' is wrong. Surely it is correct as they are both self claimed groups of the best universities, neither of which include all of the best ones in their respecitve countries...

I really don't think Vanderbilt should be on the list of top US Unis not in the Ivy league. It doesn't have a reputation as a top US Uni in or, as far as I'm aware, outside of the USA (except maybe for some in the Southern US). I've taken it out, though really I think including a whole list is silly. The article is "Russell Group," not "Misconceptions About the Ivy League"

Changed "best" US universities to "most well-known US universities" in interests of NPOV. Grover cleveland 04:45, 8 February 2006 (UTC)

There should be no reference to the US within the article. See Also only. Shall I go and litter Russell Group references all over the Ivy League page?

As an American who only lived in the UK for two years, I won’t argue one way or the other whether it’s germane to compare the Russell Group to American academia in this article. I would point out, however, that the Association of American Universities is probably a better North American analog to the Russell Group than is the Ivy League.

New member[edit]

Queen's University Belfast has joined as of 6th November 2006, it was announced to our office but I'm not sure when it would be on the website Alastairward 12:36, 6 November 2006 (UTC)

Listing of schools[edit]

Listing school groups in the see also section. I added the Rubgy Group and the Woodard Schools group since the Eton group was already there. Considering these groups of schools specifically focus on sending their children to Russell Group Universities and together they form the 'top' schools in the country, they are quite relevant to this article. The see also section might want to be cleaned up into sections of european groups, international groups and school groups that focus on Russell Group acceptance. Spanky Deluxe 13:07, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't see how these pages have information have help readers to understand the Russell Group. For example, many students who attend the Russell Group's members take A Levels, but we don't link to that page. There's no information on those pages that help with this topic. --Duncan 22:15, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Research Funding[edit]

I think we should take initiatives to improve this article. Ive League page can be an idol for this article. Besides, this is a research based university group and research funding and all those stuffs should get emphasized here. Higher Education Funding Council for England has declared its research funding (2007-08) for the uk universities [1]. Top Ten university goes in this way,
Higher Education Research Funding for England (2007-08)

SN University funding (£,000)
01 University of Cambridge 107,058
02 University of Oxford 104,204
03 University College London 101,333
04 Imperial College London 91,800
05 University of Manchester 76,994
06 King's College London 58,401
07 University of Leeds 47,243
08 University of Southampton 46,530
09 University of Sheffield 43,895
10 University of Bristol 43,192

I think it will help us to provide some citation and proper data for this article where it lacks extremely. Niaz bd 06:50, 29 April 2007 (UTC)

Nature of group[edit]

DuncanBCS, it is usually considered good manners on wikipedia to discuss differences in opinion rather than just revert without a work.

You suggested that the information I added was "Untrue and unreferenced. First sentence repeats opening. However, all Russell group universities take part in the QAA, which is the official teaching quality audit". I have re-added my contribution with references, and changed the structure so it sits better in the article.

The point I am trying to get across is that the Russell Group is a lobby group, nothing more - and membership of the Russell Group does not imply anything about the quality of teaching in an institution.

Please respond here rather than revert if you wish to discuss.

Nordelius 16:04, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the guidance. I had throught your edit to be simple enough to revert directly. You had added no references. The article already states that its is a lobby group. Your first sentence did repeat that, and was therefore redundant. You explained that some Russels Group unviversities refuse to take part in official surveys, which is mistaken: the QAA is the official survey. Do we know that membership of the Russell group implies nothing about quality? For example, do we know that QAA ratings are higher at non-Russell Universities? Your edit seems to suggest that teaching quality is lower inside the Russell Group. Having studied at colleges both inside and outside the Group, I don't feel that is true or referenced. --Duncan 17:05, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I have merged your opening sentence into the opening of the article. You've added a useful reference. However, your point about teachning quality is innuendo: we would not add a statement that membership of the group does not prove that the university is not evil, not should be add anything else of that type without references. --Duncan 17:12, 10 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm just trying to add the point that membership of the Russell Group, doesn't tell you anything (good or bad) about the quality of the teaching in an institution. There is often an implication that the Russell Group are the "best" universities, when in fact membership indicates something much more narrow.
You are slightly mis-informed regarding the QAA and the NSS - the QAA inspections examine institutional processes that assure the quality of teaching(and ratings are a thing of the far distant past. the NSS talks directly to students as to what they think of the quality of their course. Both are equally official, they just measure different things. Having worked in HE teaching policy for five years, I am often alarmed how few people realised that QAA reports tell you very little about actual teaching quality (at least since 2001-2). Nordelius 12:20, 11 May 2007 (UTC)
Let's come back to this if we find a pertinant reference. However, we would not add such a statement to a page like Ivy League and I do not see why we would add it here. --Duncan 08:37, 14 May 2007 (UTC)

Crests and Mottos[edit]

I have created a new section entitled 'Crests and Mottos'. I could not find some of the universities motto and failed to put them under the university Creast/Logo. It's my request to other wikipedians: please help me by updating those empty fields. (Niaz bd 16:23, 10 May 2007 (UTC))

Comparison to Ivy League[edit]

The inclusion of the following in the opening paragraph is utterly bizarre. Clearly the English Premier League is also an athletic conference, and is more famous for being so than the Ivy League.

"It is sometimes referred to as the British equivalent of the Ivy League of the United States,[2] but since the Ivy League is principally an athletic conference, a more apt analogy might be the Premier League in English football." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:32, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

Change the source used for League Tables[edit]

Currently The Times is used as the source for the league tables. As the content the reference refers to is behind a paywall, and thus not freely accessible, should an alternative league table be used instead? The Guardian's leagues tables are freely accessible. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Michaeldt (talkcontribs) 12:39, 8 April 2011 (UTC)

I understand that the Times newspaper is not accessible. This should not be the citation. However, the Times rankings are freely available for verification and as they differ it would not be appropriate to simply switch rankings (i.e to the guardian). They should both be listed with appropriate citations.IcyEd (talk) 03:36, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

Research applicable information[edit]

As the Russell group is primarily a list of research intensive universities it would seem prudent to have as much research specific information as possible.

I intend to add a table on total audited research expenditure. Currently only government contracts are listed and universities obtain substantive external research funding from charities and companies as well as research funded directly by endowments. These figures should be readily comparable from the end of year financial statements that these universities publish by law.

The research information paragraph is now very out of date and I may also add the academic world rankings (shanghai jiao tong). Given that no ranking is perfect I am inclined to say the more comparisons, the better. I expect these changes will take me sometime to upload.IcyEd (talk) 03:32, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

The current table of research income states total research income from all sources, not just from government sources. It is also for the most recent year that comparable info is available for all institutions.
The article also already includes a table of rankings. The ARWU is not currently included, and I personally have nothing against it being added. Rangoon11 (talk) 17:19, 2 February 2012 (UTC)

I think we disagree on the table of research income. I have set out a small case against your statement below, please let me know if you feel this is incorrect. I hope we can reach a consensus.

You are correct that the figures include research "income", but as it states in the citation for the table, the figure is from “grants and contracts” for example, EPSRC, BBSRC.... I was mistaken to mention Charities (e.g. Wellcome Trust) as these award grants in the same way, and this is included. However, the figure is substantially different from total research "expenditure" because this is not the only source of funding for principle investigators/group leaders. Quality related (HEFCE) funding block grants do not seem to be included and are a large part of the research portfolio for any institution, as determined by the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE). Furthermore, substantial research provision is made through restricted endowments; a recurring professorship would be one example and usually include some research expenses. More importantly, however, most universities in this list are in financial surplus and strategically invest in areas of their research portfolio with alternative finance, quite separate from the finance in the list given which is largely project specific. This alternative finance includes the return on endowment investments as well as from university owned intellectual property agreements. International postgraduate student fees are also a quite significant source of research funding (largely unrestricted), particularly in the Sciences where these students pay a cost more representative of the true cost of their work at PhD level (generally speaking). The output of a university is thus only determined in part by the success of individual (principle) investigators being awarded research grants and associated contracts. Total research expenditure includes the total funding of research from all sources for a given year (where figures are available and have been audited). The difference between these institutions in terms of research productivity is as much determined by their ability to attract very diverse sources of funding as it is by their success in grant applications. I still believe that the table of research income stated is an important table but believe a substantial supplement on research expenditure would show significant variation between each institution and help make the article a more informative resource. IcyEd (talk) 15:02, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

New members[edit]

This article needs significant updating with the introduction of four new members: Durham, Exeter, Queen Mary and York. The main list and the map have been done, but the other tables with research funding etc. need revision too. —Vanderdeckenξφ 17:31, 12 March 2012 (UTC)

Please note that the four new members don't actually join until August. Rangoon11 (talk) 20:22, 12 March 2012 (UTC)
The only source I could find for this is the Queen Mary's press release, the other three don't mention it and neither does the actual Russell Group announcement or the two newspaper sources used as references for the claim. Not disputing it, just noting it. I've been having trouble updating the Durham page since it seems the four have left the 1994 group but have not officially joined the Russell Group yet. Personally I think they should be marked as members with a note saying they only officially join in August, but I'm biased. It doesn't help that the Durham press release made it sound as if it took place with immediate effect whilst the others emphasised they had only accepted the invitation.--23230 talk 10:28, 14 March 2012 (UTC)
It's true that the August date doesn't seem to appear anywhere outside of the Queen Mary's press release, although it is correct. Note that the four universities also haven't yet left the 1994 Group. The 'current members' sections of the Russell Group and 1994 Group websites reflect this: [2] and [3]. Rangoon11 (talk) 18:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

Aldwych Group[edit]

I've redirected the Aldwych_Group page to this one, and merged in the small amount of original content, because WP:BOLD. Do feel free to chip in and add any additional info about the Aldwych Group (talk) 17:26, 25 March 2014 (UTC)


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.

from? Do they travel much? —Tamfang (talk) 08:32, 15 April 2015 (UTC)

Royal Charter dates[edit]

I was wondering what the purpose of these is. At the moment there is a mismash of earliest charters, charters as a University, and charters following recent mergers, which makes no sense. Furthermore, there are a number of group members who don't have charters at all. The current approach is inconsistent, foot example why have Manchester as 2005 (merger with UMIST) but not Cardiff as 1998 (merger with UWIST)? Why have the collegiate charter date for UCL but not for Nottingham (1903)? Why not use UCL's refoundation in 1976, for that matter?

Two approaches would seem to make sense: either having the date of the earliest charter awarded to the institution or its predecessors (although this is still debatable, depending on how predecessors is defined), or replacing it with the institutions claimed date of foundation. Of we need a date, the latter seems most sensible, but we could just remove it all together, as irrelevant to the article.Robminchin (talk) 12:09, 17 February 2016 (UTC)

As nobody objected, I've removed the Royal Charter dates and related historical footnotes. If people want to know this information, it's on the pages of the individual universities. This reduced the footnotes to a far more manageable two (once the orphaned footnote referring to a previously-removed column on Vice-Chancellors was also removed). Robminchin (talk) 21:51, 6 March 2016 (UTC)