Cambridge and Oxford universities are the main beneficiaries of research allocations from the Higher Education Funding Council for England unveiled this week, writes Jessica Shepherd.
Cambridge, with just under £100 million in research money for 2006-07, is followed by Oxford, with nearly £98 million. Both have leapfrogged University College London, which received last year's largest research grant.
Collectively, the five research giants - Cambridge, Oxford, Manchester, University College London and Imperial College London - account for just under 30 per cent of the total research funding of £1.3 billion for 2006-07.
Oxford and Cambridge have benefited from greater funding for departments rated 5 and 5* in the 2001 research assessment exercise, and a new stream for supporting charity-funded projects. Hefce officials say the institutions' increased charity income will see them earn more from the council's charity funding stream as a result.
Tony Minson, pro vice-chancellor for planning and resources at Cambridge, said funding council money would enable research to be put on a sustainable footing.
Professor Minson said: "We see this as the Office of Science and Technology and Hefce meeting their promises to bring research funding up to a level that allows us to receive a larger proportion of the full costs.
"The cash does not support new research. Instead, it tries to cover the costs of existing research. However, this is the first step to making research sustainable."
"There is no doubt that a decision has been made to favour the research-intensive universities. Non-research-intensive universities have opportunities to be very good in other areas."
Hefce has also announced that it will allocate an extra £88 million in grants for research buildings and equipment over the next two years in proportion to institutions' core research grants. This will bring total research capital grants for English universities and institutions to £236 million in 2006-07 and £266 million in 2007-08.
Oxford, Cambridge, Manchester, UCL and Imperial College will receive over a quarter of the £88 million for equipment, updating laboratories and research facilities.
Link to table in the Statistics section: Funding allocations 2006-07