Irish universities maintain positions in latest world rankings

Investment in universities is crucial to take advantage of opportunities arising from Brexit, an expert has said as Irish colleges maintain a steady position in the latest world rankings, writes Niall Murray.

Trinity College Dublin has moved up from 131st to 117th and remains the highest-placed Irish institution in the 2018 Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings.

Trinity College

Other than a fall for Maynooth University out of the top 400 - linked to declining proportions of academic staff with PhDs, and falling research citations - six other Irish colleges hold their positions since last year.

Oxford in the UK retains top spot in this year’s THE ranking, followed by competitor university Cambridge.

While this makes it the first time in 13 years that two European universities are ranked one and two, the number of institutions from Europe in the top 30 is down from 10 a year ago to seven, with US colleges continuing to dominate.

The other Irish universities included, and all in the same bandings as last year, are:

NUI Galway, Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, and University College Dublin, all ranked between 201 and 250

University College Cork ranked between 351 and 400

Dublin City University (401-500), University of Limerick (501-600)

Dublin Institute of Technology (601-800).

Phil Baty, THE global rankings editorial director, said TCD’s improvement and the steady position of most others is impressive in the context of funding pressures and the rise of Asian universities.

“But Ireland’s global standing is likely to decline if funding does not increase and institutions are not given greater autonomy,” he said.

On the other hand, Mr Baty said, Brexit provides great opportunities for Ireland.

“The country could be well placed to attract researchers from the UK and elsewhere that want to retain access to EU research funding and remain in the EU,” he said.

“Ireland must ensure that it invests in its universities to take advantage of its position and remain a key global player in higher education,” Mr Baty said.

The top five is completed by three US colleges: California Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University.

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