Ups and downs in universities league table
There were mixed fortunes for Irish universities in the latest global league table, with the two highest ranked, Trinity and University College Dublin (UCD), both slipping slightly down the ladder.
However, other colleges have held their own or improved their standing in the QS World University Rankings 2015 of almost 900 world universities.
Trinity remains in the top 100 - although dropping from 71 to 78 - while UCD is down 15 places on last year to 139.
Meanwhile, Dublin City University (DCU) has climbed 13 places to 353, while NUI Galway is up 11 to 271. University College Cork (UCC) has slipped three to 233.
The University of Limerick, Maynooth University and Dublin Institute of Technology, while further down the table, have all improved their positions.
The 2015 list is headed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), followed by Harvard University, also in the US. The rankings use academic reputation, employer reputation, staff/student ratio, research citations and the proportions of international staff and students, to compare more than 3,000 universities. A new approach this year on how research citations are counted impacted on scores.
QS head of research Ben Sowter sounded a positive note for Ireland, saying we have a relatively high number of ranked universities for the population. Irish universities were "akin to the Irish rugby team: remarkably competitive given their population, funding and resources; and consistently so."
He said that six out of the eight Irish colleges ranked had risen in the academic and employment reputation indicators, "suggesting an Irish renaissance in the eyes of academics and employers alike".
Trinity Dean of Research Professor John Boland said the cuts in funding in higher education in Ireland and increased investments made by global competition continued to have a direct impact on the rankings.
DCU president Professor Brian MacCraith said the significant rise in position for DCU was driven primarily by an improvement in scores in research output.