Will the last university to leave the 1994 Group please turn out the lights

The University of Surrey has left the 1994 Group, saying the move reflects "the changing higher education environment".

November 6, 2012

The university announced today its departure from the mission group, which represents smaller research-intensive universities.

Surrey's departure follows that of University of Bath from the 1994 Group last week, while the University of St Andrew has confirmed it left the group last month.

In a statement, a spokesman for Surrey said: “The decision to leave the 1994 Group has not been taken lightly and reflects the university’s response to the changing higher education environment.

“The University of Surrey values existing strong relationships and collaborations that it has developed with fellow members of the 1994 Group as well as other universities across the sector.

“It will continue to build on these in support of its commitment to excellence in research and teaching.

“It will also continue to seek and develop new, mutually beneficial relationships with other leading UK and global academic institutions.”

Surrey’s exit from the 1994 Group follows last week’s announcement that its vice-chancellor, Sir Christopher Snowden, will become the next president of Universities UK, starting in August 2013.

The loss of Surrey, St Andrews and Bath leaves the 1994 Group with just 12 members – seven fewer than at the start of the year.

The universities of Exeter, York, Durham and Queen Mary, University of London, left this summer to join the Russell Group, which represents large research-intensive universities.

Bath’s vice-chancellor Dame Glynis Breakwell said last week that continued membership of the organisation "does not reflect the type of university we are".

She also highlighted Bath’s “high proportion of postgraduate students”, its “highest ever ranking in the national league tables”, its success in winning “large scale research grants” and its recruitment of “more of the most able students than ever before”.

The three recent departures have not announced any plans to seek membership of other mission groups, though Bath in particular is understood to be keen to join the Russell Group.

jack.grove@tsleducation.com

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