Manchester will become Britain's first half-billion pound university in terms of academic earnings.
The merger of Manchester University and the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology creates an academic giant rivalling Cambridge and Oxford universities, University College London and Imperial College London. The big five each attracted more than £400 million a year from teaching and research grants and student fees in 2002-03 according to figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency - accounting for a fifth of the sector's income.
But with more than £490 million in earnings in 2002-03, Manchester is the clear leader, an analysis by The Times Higher has revealed. By the time of the university's official launch in October, its income is likely to top £500 million a year.