✨ What is a Russell Group University? ✨

icon-time 22 May 2018
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You may have come across the term "Russell Group University" in connection with UK higher education, but what is the Russell Group?

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Formed in 1994, the Russell Group is a self-selecting (they choose their own members) association of the UK's largest public research universities. The following 24 universities are currently members:

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UniversityARWU(Global)QS(Global)THE(Global)Complete(National)Guardian(National)The Times(National)
University of Birmingham101–15084=141=1615=15
University of Bristol614476172716=
University of Cambridge342111
Cardiff University99137162=36=4235
Durham University201–3007897645
University of Edinburgh3223=27=23=30=24
University of Exeter151–200158=130=14=1314
University of Glasgow101–1506580=36=2320
Imperial College London278856=4
King's College London4623=36213928=
University of Leeds101–15010113914=1410
University of Liverpool101–150173=177=416742
London School of Economics151–2003525=415=11
University of Manchester383454=222825
Newcastle University201–300161=175=23=30=26
University of Nottingham101–15084=147=181918
University of Oxford761222
Queen Mary University of London151–200127121334443
Queen's University Belfast301–400202201–250353838
University of Sheffield101–15082104314021
University of Southampton101–150102126=263530
University College London16716710=7=
University of Warwick101–1505791889
University of York201–300135=137=201716=

They are not selected based on their rankings, but it does include many of the UK's highest ranked universities.

The group's stated 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."

It is certainly considered a lobby-group (an organisation that seeks to influence politics), and has been accused of being a cartel (an association of companies working together to raise collective profits); but the Russel Group would say the main focus is to collaborate on research.

Being a Russell Group member doesn't necessarily indicate the quality of the university, but some employers and organisations nevertheless use it as a proxy for the best universities because it does not change every year like university rankings. So you may stand a better chance of getting a job if you went to a Russell Group university.

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