Six institutes of technology have been well placed in a world ranking of top third-level science and technology colleges.
They have been given top scores under a range of headings seeking to measure colleges under broad headings of teaching and learning, research, knowledge transfer and international orientation.
The U-Multirank scheme is a European Commission initiative aimed at helping to identify individual colleges’ strengths and weakness, rather than focusing on ordered rankings.
University College Dublin (UCD) was the only Irish university included in the science and technology ranking, but it is placed highest of all our colleges in 25th place among the 231 institutions compared.
It got A scores in four of the seven categories under which it was assessed, mainly related to science and technology publications, and a B in three others.
Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) got As in seven sub-headings, but its scores were lower than UCD’s, and it is ranked 38th.
They included As in three out of four internationalisation categories, and also for art-related output, top-cited publications, spin-off companies and publications cited in patents.
Galway-Mayo and Cork institutes of technology got four As each, both scoring top marks for graduation rates on bachelor degrees and for international joint publications.
The U-Multirank system gave Institute of Technology Tallaght three As and one to Letterkenny Institute of Technology.
The number of Irish colleges ranked was just six, based on selection criteria that limited the comparisons to those where at least 40% of graduates come from science and technology fields, or universities with technical in their titles. An U-Multirank spokesperson said it also only included institutions that award PhDs, in order to compare colleges with a comparable profile and mission.
In the overall rankings published in April for 1,500 colleges in 99 countries, DIT and University College Cork fared best, each scoring As in 13 of the 39 indicators counted.
But the six institutes of technology currently signed up to U-Multirank also fared very well, receiving more As than many of the universities, including UCD which received just five As on the broader institutional ranking.
The rankings emerged as Higher Education Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor said this week she is determined to have a law passed by the year-end to permit the creation of technological universities (TUs).
The Technological Universities Bill was published by the last government in 2015 but it is currently waiting to be considered by the Oireachtas education committee, having been delayed over concerns about staffing and the consequences of an application for TU status being declined.
It is now planned the bill will be amended to mean the previous proposal requiring two or more institutes of technology to merge before seeking TU status is not now in place. Instead, such a merger would only be finalised if and when the TU designation is approved.
“TUs will mark a step change in scale, impact and influence. They will drive regional development and provide more opportunities for students,” she told the Dáil yesterday.
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