Trinity College and University College Dublin should be amalgamated to create one of the world's top 10 institutions, it was claimed today.
Former European Commissioner and Attorney General Peter Sutherland said the universities should join forces in order to compete internationally.
Mr Sutherland, chairman of the London School of Economics, also warned that the Government cannot sustain seven universities without risking one going bust.
"At the moment both are in the top 100 with one in the top 50. Would we have a top 20 player or even a top 10 player to compete in the big leagues and, if so, wouldn't that be the best thing for Ireland?" he said.
"Surely, with a bit of imagination (or even 'innovation') this could be achieved without compromising the rich and very different histories and traditions of these important national institutions."
Last year, Trinity College was ranked 49th in the world with UCD in 89th place.