Trinity and UCD slip down rankings of top universities
TRINITY College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) have slipped in the latest world rankings of leading universities -- with both universities warning last night that cuts are making it impossible to remain at the top.
"While Irish universities are cash-starved, other countries are investing solidly in their third and fourth level sectors," said UCD president Dr Hugh Brady.
TCD dropped nine places to 52 while UCD dropped from 89 to 114.
But a move into the top 200 was good news for University College Cork, which jumped from 207 last year to 184 this year.
There was also good news for NUI Galway, which moved from 243 to 232. Next highest was Dublin City University, down from 279 last year to 330, while Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) dropped from 326 to 395. NUI Maynooth moved up from 437 to 401 while the University of Limerick remained at 451.
John O' Leary, executive member of the QS Academic Advisory Board, which produced the survey, noted that three Irish universities had made the top 200 in a positive overall set of results for European universities. The four other Irish universities, along with DIT, made it to the top 500 in the world.
But UCD's Dr Brady warned that successive waves of spending cuts could not be absorbed without impacting on quality. "Major challenges must be addressed if this hard-won success is not to be washed away in the metaphorical 'blink of an eye'," he added.
The University of Cambridge was voted the best university in the world, pushing Harvard into second place in the survey of 15,000 academics and 5,000 employers worldwide.
QS World University Rankings measure university research quality, graduate employability, teaching commitment and international commitment. QS rankings use a combination of global surveys and audited data including citation counts from Scopus, the world's largest database of academic publishing.
This is the seventh year of QS rankings, which are regarded as the most accurate of the international league tables. The QS rankings are compiled in a slightly different manner than those published recently by a university in Shanghai, in which Irish universities fared badly. One of the criticisms of the Chinese tables is that too much reliance is given to the number of Nobel winners on the academic staff.
NUI Galway was delighted last night with its improved placing in the QS tables.
University president Dr James Browne said this was the third consecutive jump and represented an increase of an "incredible" 252 places in the last three years.
"It is clear that Irish universities are competing in a global market now. In spite of the economic difficulties the country faces, we need to continue to invest in teaching and research if we are to continue to attract the best staff and students and to maintain and enhance Ireland's position within higher education globally".
NUI Galway also remains in the top 300 ranking of universities for Arts and Humanities (274) for the second year in a row in the QS World University Rankings' discipline categories.