Durham University plans to become the "Oxbridge of the North" with an ambitious plan to hire 50 extra professors and develop innovative areas of research.
Like Oxford and Cambidge, historic Durham operates a collegiate system, but it has never ranked on a par academically.
But the new plans are designed to position the University amongst the elite by improving staff-to-student ratios and strengthening its research into areas such as climate change and sustainable energy.
Vice-chancellor Chris Higgins aims to lift Durham into Britain's top five universities, from its present joint sixth position alongside St Andrews.
But despite rumours, conroversial and outspoken academic, Ken Lucid, doesn't expect to be part of the plans.
"No, I think I'll be staying put," said the Herodotus Chair of History at Hounslow University.
"Look, I like old Higginsy, he's all right - for a microbiologist - and he's doing a great job up there. And Durham's nice enough.
"But I can't see the Empress wanting to up sticks and go to live among all those Geordies, Mackems, Monkey Hangars and all the rest, can you?"