LEADING Irish universities, such as Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and University College Dublin (UCD) are not making a big impact globally, according to international new rankings on the power of university brands.
Irish universities are struggling to gain recognition in a global academic marketplace where high-spending countries are attracting the top talent and the most funding and investment.
The top 100 universities in terms of reputation does not include any from Ireland.
The highest placed Irish college Trinity, is outside the top 200 – but only the first 100 are ranked.
The UK-based Times Higher Education (THES) World Reputation Rankings are based on the largest worldwide survey of senior academic opinion.
Almost 17,000 published academics were asked to nominate no more than 15 of the best institutions in their field of expertise, based on their experience and knowledge.
Reputation is important because it both reflects and drives university success, attracting staff, students, investment, research partners and funding in a highly competitive global market.
The top 100 covers only about 0.5pc of the world's universities, while Irish third-level colleges tend to be counted among the top 3pc in the world.
THES rankings editor Phil Baty said while UCD and TCD were well known in the UK and Ireland, and did not do too badly in terms of university rankings generally, "in terms of global brand recognition, they seem to be struggling".
He said world class research and world class teaching were expensive and funding was an issue in Ireland, as it was in some other western economies.
The rankings are headed by an elite group of six global "superbrands" – Harvard, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Berkeley and Stanford in the US and the UK's Oxford and Cambridge, which are well clear of the rest.
The US dominates with 43 of the top 100, although down from 54 two years ago. It is followed by the UK with nine, down from 12 in 2011. Australia comes third with six.
New forces in higher education are emerging, especially in the East Asian countries that are investing heavily in building world-class universities, according to Mr Baty.
Mr Baty said institutions that were very successful, and those rising up the ranks, had very clear strategies and very aggressive global plans, including global branch campuses.
He said while a university's reputation was subjective, "it matters deeply in today's highly competitive global marketplace, and it has serious real-world impact – helping to attract top student and academic talent, and encouraging industrial investment and benefactions".