The Russell Group – so named after the informal meetings of members at Hotel Russell in London’s Russell Square – consists of twenty-four top UK universities of varying ages ranging from a few decades (Warwick, founded in 1965) to over nine centuries (Oxford, founded in 1096), and was founded in 1994.
The Russell Group was established as a professional body in 2007, to:
- Make policy and strategy
- Foster its members’ research and teaching
- Facilitate the immigration of academically talented people
- Ensure quality of student/customer experience
- Build bridges with the EU
- Advocate for environmentally sustainable practices
- Champion UK innovation
Russell Group University Guide
The member universities are claimed to yield the lion’s share of the UK’s best research, add value worth eighty-seven billion pounds to the economy of the UK, underpin over two hundred and fifty thousand jobs up and down the land, and educate eighty percent of the country’s doctors and dentists, the majority of mathematicians and scientists, half of the linguists, and a considerable tranche of engineers.
Members get given the majority of government funding for research. Even in 2020/21, despite the pandemical restrictions, the research carried out by member universities generated over thirty thousand new jobs. Russell Group universities have about 450,000 undergraduates and about 150,000 postgraduates.
List of Russell Group Members
What these disparate universities have in common is the quality of teaching and research; an important index of the prestige and value of a degree in the labour market is whether the university in question is a member of the group. It should be noted, however, that there are many excellent university courses outside the Russell Group and that a student should beware of choosing one course over another just because the former is of the Russell Group and even though the latter would be more suitable for that particular applicant.
Many of the newer universities offering more vocational courses should not be mistrusted or disparaged due to the non-membership of a group whose members may have different priorities. In any case, the reality on the ground in 2022 is not identical to life as it was in 1994. Applicants to UK universities should regard membership of the group as but one yardstick of a university course’s eligibility.
Why are Russell Group universities important?
This should interest an international student because over 90,000 international students from over 160 countries choose to join a Russell Group university every year, with over ninety per cent of these arrivals expressing satisfaction.
Twenty-four per cent of Russell Group undergraduates are international students. All twenty-four Russell Group members were rated in the top two hundred and fifty universities in the world according to the QS World University Rankings.
The group represents its members’ concerns, mainly to parliament and government, and also advocates on behalf of students, as shown by a recent policy document on its website urging the government to raise hardship support for students amidst the rise in the cost of living.
Now that there has been talk of the government restricting visas for international students, the Russell Group has pointed out that those with study visas are more likely to leave by the expiry date than those with work visas, let alone those with other visas. The group has also explained to the government how education and research and development can add value to the economy. Its website promotes its members’ work, for example, the Queen Mary BioEnterprises founded by Queen Mary University of London to test vaccines and antiviral treatments, and the bowel cancer screening work of Imperial College London.
Study at a Russell Group University
Are you interested in studying at one of the above universities? All Russell Group universities welcome applications from international students every year, and you can begin yours by arranging a free consultation with SI-UK India today.