Cambridge University has become only the second university to break the Pounds 100 million barrier for research income - three years after Oxford.
Research grants and contracts continue to be the single biggest source of cash at both institutions, new accounts show. For the year to July 1998, Cambridge's research income grew by 6.8 per cent to Pounds 100 million, up from Pounds 93.6 million last year.
But Oxford was this week boasting that it had passed the Pounds 100 million mark in 1995, recording for 1998 a 6.5 per cent increase to Pounds 114 million.
Both institutions saw modest rises in their total incomes for the year to July 1998. But Cambridge's rate of growth slowed significantly. Income at Cambridge increased by 3.8 per cent, compared with 5.7 per cent the previous year. Oxford's total income increased by 6.9 per cent, a significantly larger increase than the 4.6 per cent of the previous year.
Oxford's total income stands at Pounds 304.7 million, compared with Cambridge's Pounds 293 million. Oxford also recorded a higher surplus for the year, Pounds 17 million, compared with Cambridge's Pounds 10.7 million on ordinary activity.
Oxford saw a major increase in its grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the Teacher Training Agency. They grew by more than Pounds 6 million from Pounds 82.4 million in 1997 to Pounds 89 million in 1998. Cambridge's income from HEFCE and the TTA rose by Pounds 2.5 million to Pounds 87.5 million.
Cambridge treasurer Joanna Womack warned in the financial statement: "In the long run the university's financial stability depends on its continuing to increase its income from private sources and improving efficiency in all areas."
Oxford echoed this in its financial statement: "The proportion of public funding within the university budget will continue to decline and alternative sources must be sought with increased vigour."
In two sources of income, Cambridge continued to dominate - endowment income and income from academic fees and support grants.
Cambridge made more than Pounds 10 million more from endowments than Oxford, at Pounds 32.2 million compared with Pounds 21.6 million at Oxford.
Cambridge also benefited from raising its academic fees to overseas students and increasing the numbers it recruited. Cambridge expanded its income from academic fees and support grants by 7 per cent to Pounds 42 million, compared with Pounds 38 million at Oxford.