Three Irish universities improve in world rankings

The latest World University Rankings show that three Irish universities have boosted their graduate employability for 2018.

Trinity College Dublin has risen 10 places to 88th worldwide, UCD is up eight places to 168 and NUI Galway has climbed six places to reach 243 in the world.

The 14th edition of rankings from global education analysts QS Quacquarelli Symonds ranks the world’s 959 top universities. Their 'employer reputation' metric, by which they assess how highly employers regard universities, sees all seven of Ireland’s ranked universities improve their scores.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been named the world’s leading university for a record sixth consecutive year. Standford University ranked second, followed by Harvard University.

UCD said that the increase is a sign of some recovery in the staff-student ratio, which had fallen outside the ranking of the top 500 last year and is now at 439.

In a statement, the university said that funding cuts by Government "have bitten hard" on the higher education sector in Ireland since the economic crash in 2008 and the recovery has yet to reach Irish universities.

The President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks, said that failure of the Government to address the funding issue facing the sector has meant that the only way for them to increase the number of staff has been through using non-exchequer income raised primarily by recruiting additional non-EU students.

He stressed that although this has improved UCD’s ranking under the staff-student ratio criterion, the ratio remains unacceptably low compared with universities overseas.

Professor Deeks said: "Unless there is movement on the funding of Irish students soon, the university will have to seriously consider the option of reducing the number of places available to Irish students in order to preserve quality.

"We continue to pursue our ambitions to provide a great educational experience for our students and to be a centre of research excellence that impacts on society through the work of our academics. I wish to thank staff for their continuing dedication through a difficult time for Irish universities."

This is the fifth successive year NUI Galway has risen in the international rankings, and it now ranks amongst the top 1% of universities in the world.

President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne, attributed their continued success to the hard work, commitment and ambition of their staff and students. Amidst speculation on the impact of Brexit on Irish institutions, the university has seen an 11% increase in applications from Northern Ireland and Great Britain this year.

Dr Browne said: "We are on the edge of the Atlantic but our outlook is global. We are pleased to see the impact in international recognition and in student interest, with a 10% increase in CAO applications this year."

Of the five other Irish third-level institutions, UCC stayed at 283rd in the rankings and Dublin City University fell 11 places to 391, while the University of Limerick, Dublin Institute of Technology and Maynooth University all remained outside the top 500.

The full table of rankings can be viewed here: www.TopUniversities.com.

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