IRISH universities are facing a tougher battle to be counted among the world's elite, an influential new survey shows.
When it comes to global reputations, high income universities in places like the UK, US and, increasingly, Asia are taking the top spots.
No Irish universities feature in the top 100 as measured by the UK-based 'Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings'.
These 100 cover only the top 0.5pc of universities in the world and Irish universities tend to fall into the top 3pc.
Harvard heads an elite group of six US and UK global university "super-brands". The UK heads Europe with 10 institutions in the top 100, followed by the Netherlands with five.
The problem for Ireland is that reputation is regarded as a key factor for attracting top academics, lucrative research partnerships and business contracts as well as full fee-paying international students.
Phil Baty, editor of the 'Times Higher Education Rankings' said funding, or lack of it, was a factor.
He said some well-known universities that had suffered funding cuts had slipped, while Irish universities were facing a funding challenge.
Ned Costello, chief executive of the Irish Universities Association, said Irish universities continue to perform strongly on graduate quality and research outputs.
"However, centrally imposed cutbacks in both staffing and funding are placing us at a real disadvantage in terms of our international reputation," he said.