The elite Russell Group of universities has accepted four new members. Durham, Exeter, York and Queen Mary, University of London, were selected to join the group, which represents the UK's top institutions.
The Russell Group produces almost 80 per cent of Britain's doctors and dentists, and wields considerable influence on government education policy.
Professor Michael Arthur, chairman of the Russell Group, said: "We are delighted to announce that the Russell Group board has invited four more members to join the group, all of whom have accepted. Durham, Exeter, Queen Mary and York have demonstrated that – like all other Russell Group members – they excel in research, innovation and education and have a critical mass of research excellence across a wide range of disciplines."
The other Russell Group universities are Birmingham, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Imperial College London, King's College London, University College London, Leeds, Liverpool, London School of Economics and Political Science, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Queen's University Belfast, Sheffield, Southampton and Warwick.