University of London Russell Group

University of London LogoUniversity of London Russell Group

The Russell Group is a self-selected association of twenty-four public research universities in the United Kingdom. The group is headquartered in London and was established in 1994 to represent its members’ interests, principally to government and parliament; nineteen smaller British research universities formed the 1994 Group in response, which was disbanded in 2013. In 2010, Russell Group members received approximately two-thirds of all university research grant and contract income in the United Kingdom. The group is widely perceived as representing the best universities in the country.

Russell Group members award 60% of all doctorates gained in the United Kingdom, and over 30% of all students studying in the United Kingdom from outside the EU. In the 2014 Research Excellence Framework, 68% of world-leading research and 68% of research with an outstanding impact was carried out in Russell Group universities.

The Russell Group is so named because the first informal meetings of the Group took place at the Hotel Russell in Russell Square, London. Meetings generally take place shortly before meetings of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals (now Universities UK) in nearby Tavistock Square, close to the University of London buildings and, particularly, Senate House.



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.

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.


The Russell Group is led by acting Director Tim Bradshaw following the departure of Wendy Piatt, who was Director General and chief executive until February 2017. It is chaired by Prof Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Nottingham.