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The 1994 Group is a coalition of 19 top "smaller research-intensive universities" in the United Kingdommarker founded in 1994 to defend their interests following the creation of the Russell Group by larger research-intensive universities earlier that year. The 1994 Group represents nineteen of the UK’s leading research-intensive universities, including many of those founded in the 1960s; around half of the top twenty universities in UK national newspaper league tables are 1994 Group members.

The 1994 Group members describe themselves as "internationally recognised universities in Britain, who share common aims, standards and values".

The group states that it is "established to promote excellence in research and teaching. To enhance student and staff experience within our universities and to set the agenda for higher education".. Its aim is to provide "a central vehicle to help members promote their common interests in higher education, respond efficiently to key policy issues, and share best methods and practice".


Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

The 1994 Group highlight 3 key distinguishing features/ strengths of their members:

1) High quality, internationally renowned research

2) Research-led teaching

3) High levels of student experience

1994 Group universities achieved excellent results in the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2008. 57% of the 1994 Group’s research is rated 4* world-leading or 3* internationally excellent. 1994 Group universities excel across the full spectrum of disciplines and are UK leaders in seventeen major subject areas from physics to politics and international relations; from heath services research to sociology; from geography and environmental studies to linguistics.

Research-led teaching is central to the 1994 Group’s mission. A large proportion of the top academics who achieved the Group’s strong results in RAE 2008 teach students. High quality research and teaching are mutually supportive. Research-led teaching is the key to high levels of student experience and satisfaction.

In the annual National Student Survey the majority of the top 10 universities rated on student satisfaction are 1994 Group members every year. The Group’s aggregate performance substantially exceeds the sector as a whole. The Groups members are small- to medium-sized institutions that operate on a human and personal scale. This allows them to respond rapidly and flexibly to student needs and maximise student-staff contact whilst having sufficient size to make a substantial contribution to high quality research.

According to the 'Patterns 3' report by Universities UK, "The Russell Group and the 1994 Group share many features, but are distinguished chiefly by the fact that most members of the Russell Group have medical schools, and an emphasis on science and technology. Within the Russell Group a small number of institutions are outliers on the basis of the statistical information available, and if these were excluded from the analysis, the Russell Group and the 1994 Group would show very similar characteristics." It should be noted that several of the 1994 Group institutions also have medical schools and an emphasis on science and technology, so this is not a clear distinguishing feature of the Russell group.


The 1994 groups aims are:
  • Maximise the groups influence in policy making and decision by increasing the visibility of the group
  • Attract the highest calibre of students and staff through international awareness of member institutions
  • Maximising income to the members through teaching and research excellence
  • Co-operate on practices that increase student and staff experience
  • Collaborate to create services that allow members to adapt rapidly and flexibly with the dynamic market of higher education

Further to these aims the group has a set of shared values; that maintaining traditions and cutting-edge research are not mutually exclusive; internationally recognised universities ought to have a role and contribute on all scales; high quality research should be supported with high quality teaching and all students and staff from any background should be able to develop in a conducive atmosphere and environment that maximises their potential.


Institution Location Established Gained university status Vice-chancellor Total Number of Students Website
University of Bathmarker Bathmarker 1966 1966 Professor Glynis Breakwell 14,795 [21989]
Birkbeck, University of Londonmarker Londonmarker 1823 1920 Professor David Latchman 19,020 [21990]
Durham Universitymarker Durhammarker 1832 1832 Professor Chris Higgins 17,320 [21991]
University of East Angliamarker Norwichmarker 1963 1963 Professor Edward Acton 19,585 [21992]
University of Essexmarker Colchestermarker 1964 1964 Professor Colin Riordan 11,690 [21993]
University of Exetermarker Exetermarker 1855 1955 Professor Steve Smith 14,630 [21994]
Goldsmiths, University of London Londonmarker 1891 1904 Professor Geoffrey Crossick 7,615 [21995]
University of Lancastermarker Lancastermarker 1964 1964 Professor Paul Wellings 17,615 [21996]
University of Leicestermarker Leicestermarker 1921 1957 Professor Robert Burgess 16,160 [21997]
Institute of Education, University of Londonmarker Londonmarker 1902 1932 Professor Geoff Whitty 7,215 [21998]
Queen Mary, University of Londonmarker Londonmarker 1885 1907 Professor Simon Gaskell 15,000 [21999]
Loughborough Universitymarker Loughboroughmarker 1909 1966 Professor Shirley Pearce 17,825 [22000]
University of Reading Readingmarker 1892 1926 Professor Gordon Marshall 22,805 [22001]
Royal Holloway, University of Londonmarker Eghammarker 1849 1900 Professor Stephen Hill 7,620 [22002]
School of Oriental and African Studiesmarker Londonmarker 1916 1916 Professor Paul Webley 4,525 [22003]
University of St Andrewsmarker St Andrewsmarker 1413 1413 Dr Louise Richardson 6,808 [22004]
University of Surreymarker Guildfordmarker 1891 1966 Professor Christopher Snowden 15,935 [22005]
University of Sussexmarker Brightonmarker 1961 1961 Professor Michael Farthing 12,415 [22006]
University of Yorkmarker Yorkmarker 1963 1963 Professor Brian Cantor 12,625 [22007]

Former Members

The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), which merged with the Victoria University of Manchester to form the University of Manchestermarker, was a member of the 1994 Group until October 2004. The London School of Economicsmarker was also a member until 2006, and the University of Warwickmarker until July 2008.

Governance and Management Structure

The 1994 Group is headed by a Board made up of the heads of member institutions. The Board meets formally on four occasions each year. In addition, an annual residential conference takes place in the summer where longer-term strategic issues are discussed.

The Board has responsibility for determining strategy and has ultimate responsibility for all activity including the overall Communications Strategy, as well as determining the development of Group policy and agreeing all policy papers, positioning statements and consultation responses, and responsibility for the governance of all joint activity. Board members are key to the development and delivery of Group policy. Without their support, the Group is unable to function.


The Chair is elected by Board members for a three-year term of office. Professor Paul Wellings, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Lancastermarker, is Chair until August 2012.

The Chair is the national spokesperson for the Group and represents its interests where a senior representative of the Group is required. The Chair has overall responsibility for the development and delivery of the Communication Strategy on behalf of the Board. In this role, the Chair regularly meets with representatives of all key stakeholders bodies in a formal and informal capacity.

Advisory Group

The Chair is assisted in undertaking their duties by a Chair’s Advisory Group (CAG) elected from the Board for a three year period of office (initial membership was staggered to ensure a rolling change of membership). The CAG meets on four occasions each year.CAG members have a general brief for assisting the Chair in the development of all areas of Group policy (including management of the relationship with the Policy Groups).

The CAG has a central role in the development of relationships with Government, Funding Bodies, and HE Stakeholder Organisations. In addition, CAG members are available to speak to the media on behalf of the Group if the Chair is unavailable.

Officer level groups

In addition to the formal governance structure set out above, there are a number of other informal networking groups operating below Board level (for example, Registrars, Planning Directors, HR Directors, Librarians, and Student’s Union Presidents known as 'Unions94'). These receive no direct support from the central organisation, but exist because their members believe there is added value to be achieved by the exchange and development of best practice at Group level.

These informal networking groups play an important role in promoting the Group brand to internal stakeholders and provide important routes through which the Board or Policy Groups might test emerging policy, positioning statements or joint responses.

1994 Group Administration

The 1994 Group Administration is currently located in the Gray’s Inn Road Business Centre, WC1X. In addition to the staff offices, the building provides flexible facilities for Board, CAG, Policy Group, or large stakeholder meetings as well as smaller rooms for meetings with individual stakeholders. The Administration is made up of the following members of staff:

Executive Director

The Executive Director, Paul M. Marshall, is the head of the 1994 Group Administration.

The Executive Director has central responsibility for co-ordinating all levels of Group activity and provides senior secretarial support to the Board and the CAG.

Working alongside the Chair, the Executive Director is the central point of contact between the Group and the external world and has a primary responsibility for promoting the Group to external stakeholders.

The Executive Director is ultimately responsible for the development the Group’s external profile including press co-ordination drafting and updating publicity materials and the maintenance and development of the Group website.

Director of Internal Policy Development

In recognition of the Executive Director’s primarily role in promoting the Group brand to external stakeholders, there is a Director, Mr Tom Norton, who has primary responsibility for the promotion and development of internal Group activity.

The Director plays a central role in the management of the Group, providing cover for the Executive Director in his absence due to travel, leave or illness.

The Director has a specific remit to work with the Policy Groups in drafting policy papers, preparing position papers and collective responses to consultation exercises, and for organisation of the Group’s Annual Conference.

1994 Group position in League Tables

1994 Group members include 10 of the top 18 universities in the UK in The Guardian University Guide League Table published on the 12th May 2009

11 of the top 25 universities in The Complete University Guide published in the Independent on the 30th April 2009

9 of the top 200 universities in the world in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2008.

7 of the top 10 UK universities for student satisfaction are 1994 Group Universities (2009 National Student Survey).

The Times Good University Guide 2010 league tables published on the 3rd June 2009 put 1994 Group universities top in six regions of the UK.

Current work

1994 Group ‘Enhancing the Student Experience’ Project

The 1994 Group’s Student Experience Policy Group has been working on its ‘Enhancing the Student Experience’ project since Summer 2006. The ongoing project aims to identify the key issues surrounding student experience in the HE sector, to begin defining the 1994 Group’s own position in this context, and to identify potential areas for research and activity in the future.

The ‘Enhancing the Student Experience’ Policy report , launched on 28 November 2007, concludes that there are seven priority areas for the Higher Education sector to take forward in order to meet the challenges of a changing environment of student experiences and expectation. These seven priority areas are:

  1. A requirement to provide transparent and accurate information around the student experience
  2. Towards the 2020 Workforce: Promoting the well-rounded graduate
  3. Promoting the student voice
  4. Engagement with schools and colleges
  5. Student-focused resources
  6. International strategy and internationalisation
  7. Excellence and enhancement in teaching and learning

The 1994 Group has made a commitment to address these challenges and will monitor their impact as the sector takes them forward. As part of this process, the Group will undertake a similar review in 2012. This will determine the impact of the recommendations set out in the 2007 policy report.

'HE Engagement with 14-19 reforms’

In 2007, the 1994 Group undertook a research project, co-funded by the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) and the 1994 Group, into the impact on research-intensive universities of three aspects of the government’s current reforms to 14-19 education
  • changes to GCE A-level
  • the introduction of the Extended Project
  • the introduction of Diplomas

The report (view the report: ) , titled, ‘New Foundations, Enduring Values: Undergraduate Education, Research-intensive Universities and the Government’s Reforms of 14-19 Education in England’ was published on 23 January 2008. The research found that 62% of admissions tutors in relevant undergraduate areas felt it was very likely, quite likely or possible that they would be admitting Advanced Diploma students to undergraduate courses from 2010. Among 1994 Group universities working closely with 14- 19 projects in their own localities are Lancaster, Loughborough and York (view 1994 Group Press Release)

Press Coverage:
  • BBC News 'Diploma warning from universities' [22008]
  • The Conservatives 'Willetts: Ministers must heed new warning from universities on diplomas [22009]
  • Metro 'A grade 'not enough for top places' [22010]
  • The Daily Telegraph 'Private school stars 'will tighten Oxbridge grip [22011]
  • Guardian 'Top universities fail to spend £3m set aside to attract poorer students' [22012]

Unions 94

Established in 2006, Unions 94 are a loose coalition of Students' Unions within the 1994 Group.

See also

UK University Organisations

Types of UK university

International Groups of Universities

External links


  1. 1994 group homepage
  2. 1994 group homepage
  3. 1994 group - officer level groups
  4. 1994 group - about us
  6. Neil Stewart Associates
  7. Students\’ extra-curricular activities count–1994 Group
  11. [1]
  12. Times Higher Education - Education news, resources and university jobs for the academic world
  13. BBC NEWS Education | New Diplomas welcomed

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