Groups St Andrews 2009 was held in the University of Bath from 1 August to 15 August 2009. This was the eighth in the series of Groups St Andrews group theory conferences organised by Colin Campbell and Edmund Robertson of the University of St Andrews. The first three were held in St Andrews, and subsequent conferences held in Galway, Bath and Oxford, before returning to St Andrews in 2005 and to Bath in 2009. There were about 200 mathematicians from 30 countries involved in the meeting as well as some family members and partners. The Scientific Organising Committee of Groups St Andrews 2009 was: Colin Campbell (St Andrews), Martyn Quick (St Andrews), Edmund Robertson (St Andrews), Colva Roney-Dougal (St Andrews), Geoff Smith (Bath), Gunnar Traustason (Bath).
The shape of the conference was similar to the previous conferences (with the exception of Groups St Andrews 1981 and 2005) in that the first week was dominated by five series of talks, each surveying an area of rapid contemporary development in group theory and related areas. The main speakers were Gerhard Hiss (RWTH Aachen), Volodymyr Nekrashevych (Texas A&M), Eamonn O'Brien (Auckland), Mark Sapir (Vanderbilt) and Dan Segal (Oxford). The second week featured three special days, a Cannon/Holt Day, a B H Neumann Day and an Engel Day. The invited speakers at the Cannon/Holt Day included George Havas (Queensland), Claas Roever (Galway) and Marston Conder (Auckland).