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After 19 years the 1994 Group, which Lancaster University was a member of, has ended. The 1994 Group was a prestigious group of universities, and a powerful collective voice of the 11 research intensive universities involved, which also include the University of East Anglia, the University of Leicester and Loughborough University. Its main aim was to represent the views of its members on the future of higher education through discussions with the government, funding bodies, and other higher education interest groups.
In the past, the 1994 Group has ensured a high quality student experience for its members’ students and helped graduates get on in life; research undertaken by the group found that that graduates of 1994 Group universities can expect to earn £200,000 on average more over a lifetime than graduates from other universities. The group has also offered its students a number of other benefits, including the overseas program ERASMUS, contact with experts undertaking ground-breaking research and a range of extracurricular activities.
Not only has the group provided for students, it has provided research on higher education to the government to help implement new schemes and improve the higher education system.
Lancaster University said “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. Collectively, we have taken the decision to bring the 1994 Group to an end, because as institutions we have expanded and changed over time to the point where the need for the Group as originally constituted no longer exists.
“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.”
The 1994 Group was often equated to the Russell Group, another prestigious group of universities committed to maintaining a high standard of research and an outstanding teaching and learning experience. Over the past 19 years the 1994 Group lost a number of its members to the Russell Group but also gained a few along the way. Despite its competition with the Russell Group, the 1994 Group remained a respected and successful establishment until its end.
Joel Pullan, the LUSU President, said “Lancaster, being part of this mission group, has been party to big decisions affecting not just our own institutions, but across the country”. The 1994 Group has helped Lancaster University have its most outstanding and successful research recognised as well as increased its appeal to many prospective students.
Although the group has ended, there are plans for Lancaster University to continue to extend the achievements of the group. The Vice-Chancellor of Lancaster University, Professor Mark E Smith said “Lancaster values the strong relationships and collaborations that it has developed with fellow members of the 1994 Group and continues to be a member of other active networks of universities. We continue to seek new opportunities to develop new, mutually beneficial relationships with other leading UK and global academic institutions.”