Ireland’s top universities have slipped slightly in a major world ranking system but the country still retains four in the top 300.
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) remains in the top 100 of the QS World University Ranking, but has slipped from 71st last year to 78th.
University College Dublin and University College Cork (UCC) remain in the top 300, but fell from 139th to 154th and from 230th to 233rd, respectively.
NUI Galway improved its ranking from 280 to 271, according to today’s release from QS, whose chart is topped again by US and British colleges.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology keeps its number one slot, pipping neighbours Harvard University, University of Cambridge in the UK, and two more US institutions, Stanford University and California Institute of Technology.
Outside the top 300, other Irish institutions have also increased their rankings, which are based on a combination of measurements that include revisions to recognise the large volume of academic journal citations by researchers in life sciences and natural sciences.
Dublin City University
Dublin City University (DCU) is up 13 places to 353rd, while University of Limerick improved on its placement between 501 and 550 a year ago into the top 480 today. Maynooth University moved up from the 601-to-650 rank into the 551-to-600 band, a reversal of the position for Dublin Institute of Technology.
TCD dean of research, Prof John Boland, said high scores in particular subject areas, and rising academic reputation were a real testament of the quality of education for its students. However, he said cuts in funding, while global competitors — particularly in Asia and some European countries — make increased investment, continue to directly impact on the rankings.
“The continued reduction in Government investment in Irish universities has impacted negatively on the international standing of our universities and our ability to compete in a global arena,” he said.
DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith said improved research output scores were the primary driver in its improved ranking. He said a doubling of citations of DCU research since 2010, and a 58% rise in the number of its research publications captured in the ranking, highlight the success of its strategy to become a world-leading young research-intensive university.
University College Cork
UCC president Dr Michael Murphy said it was remarkable that Irish universities were in the top 3% to 4% of 16,000 globally, despite the challenges of eight years of budget cuts, worsening student-staff ratios, and rising global competition.
The rankings use criteria under the headings of research, teaching, employability and internationalisation but QS said changes to the weightings mean fairer recognition this year for colleges with excellence in non-research-intensive academic areas.
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