Institutes of technology top of the class in third-level rankings

Institutes of technology have fared better than universities in the latest study of third-level performance which compares colleges under different headings instead of overall rankings.

Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and University College Cork (UCC) both received 13 As, denoting very good scores, out of 39 indicators in the 2017 edition of U-Multirank.

The European Commission initiative aims to go beyond traditional university rankings that rely heavily on research and public citations, offering insights into particular strengths that are often not recognised in those tables.

The 39 headings under which 1,500 third-level colleges in 99 countries were assessed include indicators related to teaching, research, knowledge transfer, regional engagement, and international orientation.

UCC president Patrick O’Shea said the result reflects its commitment to giving students a great education and preparing them for the world in which they will live.

“It also highlights our world-class research, our close partnership with industry, and the entrepreneurial spirit that has seen the university develop many spin-off companies,” he said.

The other six universities scored between five As (Maynooth University and University College Dublin) and 11 for Dublin City University (DCU). Trinity College Dublin’s six As were topped by University of Limerick (UL) with eight and NUI Galway with nine.

But most were outscored by institutes of technology other than DIT, such as Institute of Technology Tallaght with 10 As, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) with 12, IT Tralee with eight, and Galway-Mayo IT’s six.

However, universities were more likely to score top in research categories, such as external income, citations, and various types of research publications. UCC got As in six out of 10 research indicators, followed by four at NUIG and UL, three for Trinity, and two each at Maynooth University and University College Dublin.

The organisers emphasise that a higher number of As does not make a college better than one with fewer.

“Each university has various strengths and weaknesses, or the data could simply not apply to them, reducing their chances of achieving A scores,” said a spokesperson.

The rankings recognise the regional importance of the institute of technology sector, with three As on associated indicators for DIT, CIT and IT Tallaght, and two each for IT Tralee and GMIT. Conversely, UCC’s two regional engagement As are the only top scores awarded to any of the seven universities under that heading.

National College of Ireland received its only A score for regional engagement.

The universities scored better on the six international orientation indicators, topped by DCU with four As. The headings cover areas like student mobility, foreign language degrees, and international academics. It is followed by three international orientation As for DIT, NUIG, and Maynooth, and two each for UCC, UL, and IT Tallaght.


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