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UK: 1994 Group dissolves after 19 years

The 19-year old 1994 Group – currently formed of 11 active UK university members –has announced its decision to disband, citing that the need for the Group no longer exists. Today’s statement from the board said “this was not an easy decision to make, but we feel sure it is the right one for the future.”

1994 Group disbands via statement from the board

"The Group was founded at a time of real change within the sector and so it comes to end at another point of significant change"

“The University of East Anglia has reaffirmed its commitment to new and existing collaborations”

Last year eight of its member universities – including Durham, Exeter, and York, each carrying a strong research focus – left to join the 24-institution strong Russell Group, highlighting disagreements between members as to whether the Group should form its own distinct policies and identity to the Russell Group.

In its statement the board added “the Group was founded at a time of real change within the sector and so it comes to end at another point of significant change.

We leave the group as friends and colleagues as convinced as ever that the universities we represent – committed to traditional academic rigour and excellence in research, determined to make a global mark and to deliver a high quality student experience – will continue to prosper.”

It also  thanked its current and former chief executives – Alex Bols and Paul Marshall – “and all the excellent staff who have contributed to the work of the group over the years.”

The University of East Anglia (UEA), one of the Group’s current members responded with a statement that said: “Following the announcement of the dissolution of the 1994 Group, the University of East Anglia has reaffirmed its commitment to new and existing collaborations. UEA has been a long-standing and supportive member of the 1994 Group, but we have increasingly looked beyond current UK mission groups as our own priorities and the higher education system itself have changed.”

Many expressed surprise and echoed the Group’s important role in the sector,  including Pearson’s head of policy  Steve Besley who tweeted “Sorry to see 1994 Group disband, important voice within changing sector.”

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