Research at Russell Group universities

The UK research base is highly productive and has a global reputation for excellence: with less than 1% of the world’s population, the UK earns 12% of international citations and 16% of the most cited papers. This is seen as the acid test of whether research is being taken seriously.


The Russell Group represents the 24 major research-intensive universities of the UK. These institutions are vibrant and dynamic organisations, actively contributing to their local communities and economies, yet influencing and achieving impact on a truly global scale. By virtue of their size and the quality of their research and teaching, Russell Group universities create and catalyse a hugely diverse range of activity which has a major impact on the economy of the UK.

It is also important to remember that world-class research, in its many guises, can transform our lives and reach areas we may never have thought of. Much of the research in Russell Group universities goes on to benefit the environment, our culture, and the nation's health and quality of life.

All this research activity creates a distinctive learning environment for students, where both undergraduates and post-graduates have access to academic staff who are involved in work at the cutting edge of their subjects as well as teaching.

In 2012/13, the 24 Russell Group universities accounted for: 

  • 74% (£3.5 billion) of UK universities’ research grant and contract income
  • 75% (over £1.1 billion) of total income from the Research Councils
  • 68% (around £1.3 billion) of the total quality-related research funding (QR) allocated by the Funding Councils
  • 82% (over £0.8 billion) of funding for research from UK charities
  • 60% (over 13,000) of all doctorates awarded in the UK

Representing just 15% of higher education institutions in the UK, 68% of the UK’s very best (‘world leading’) research takes place in the Russell Group's 24 universities.

The Russell Group’s 24 universities are a prominent UK and international industry in their own right, with:
•    a total economic output of over £32 billion per annum
•    responsibility for supporting more than 300,000 jobs UK-wide
•    overseas earnings of over £4 billion per annum

See just some of the social and economic impacts of our research in our case studies.