University rankings - Trinity College
Trinity College Dublin

Trinity, UCD and UCC slip as NUIG and DCU rise in university rankings

15 Sep 2015

Dublin’s Trinity College has slipped down the table, yet it’s still Ireland’s only university ranked in the world’s top 100, according to the 12th edition of the QS World University rankings, with seven other Irish institutions also featuring.

The QS World University Rankings has found that Trinity has dropped back from No 71 in the world last year to No 78 now.

But it still comes in far and away ahead of its Irish rivals, with UCD in the 154th spot (139 last year), UCC at 233 (down from 230), NUIG at 271 (up from 280) and DCU at 353 (up from 366).

Lower down the table sees University of Limerick rising into the 471-480 category, up from 501-550, with Maynooth University up one category to 551-600 and DIT dropping back a batch to 601-650.

Punching above our weight, like rugby?

In general, though, having eight institutions featured on the table seems remarkable, considering the size and population of the country.

“Considering the strong representation of Irish universities per capita, one ranked university per 130,000 people, Irish universities are akin to the Irish rugby team: remarkably competitive given their population, funding and resources, and consistently so,” said Ben Sowter, QS head of research.

Sowter explained that a governmental shift in 2012 to focus on 14 areas of science and technology is paying dividends, with five of the Irish inclusions ranking far higher in engineering and technology than in the overall results.

“This implies that specific funding for the 14 research areas specified by the inquiry, 12 of which require intensive engineering and technology research, is beginning to bear fruit.”

University rankings: Trinity and DCU delighted

Despite Trinity’s drop, John Boland, a dean of research at the university, is happy. “At the heart of the university is its teaching,” he said.

“The high scores for subjects areas, and the overall recognition of our academic staff, are a real testament of the quality of a Trinity education for our students.

“It is also particularly heartening that employers rate our graduates so highly for the jobs market and their employability both nationally and globally.”

Meanwhile, DCU’s jump has pleased its president, Professor Brian MacCraith.

“This significant rise in position for DCU  is driven primarily by an improvement in our scores in research output,” he said.

“In the last five years, the volume of publications and citations captured under the QS ranking has increased significantly, highlighting the success of our strategy to become one of the world’s leading young, research-intensive universities.”

MIT and Harvard lead the way

Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the world’s top-ranked university, followed by Harvard, the University of Cambridge and Stanford University.

ETH Zurich features in the top 10 for the first time, with two Singaporean universities rocketing into the top 15 catching the eye.

“The fascinating thing about these latest results is that they reveal more diversity than ever in the distribution of world-class universities at the highest levels,” said Sowter.

“We’re providing prospective students with the richest picture yet.”

Main image via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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