The 2017 Times Higher Education young university rankings are out, and Maynooth has broken into the top 50 for the first time.
Rankings from international organisations charting the success of universities across the globe can be a contentious issue for educators.
Just last year, Trinity College Dublin was outraged at news that a data entry error led to it being omitted from last year’s global rankings – an error that was subsequently fixed following an apology.
Leap of nearly 20 places
When it comes to the Times Higher Education (THE) list focused on young universities (50 years or younger), Maynooth University has cause to celebrate.
According to the new figures, Maynooth – for the first time since the rankings began – has been named in the top 50 young universities in the world, coming in 49th place.
This marks a leap of nearly 20 places from last year, when it ranked 68th in the world. However, its statistics – including gender ratio, student and staff ratio, and percentage of international students – remain the same as 2016.
Also showing an increase, from an Irish perspective, is Dublin City University (DCU), which has risen five places since last year to 74th in the world.
Similarly, DCU’s judged statistics were the same as 2016, with a noticeable ratio of 50:50 when it comes to gender balance among students.
While University of Limerick remains in the 101-150 bracket, Dublin Institute of Technology has made its first appearance in the rankings, in the 151-200 category.
An ‘exceptional achievement’
Speaking of their placing in the top 50, Maynooth University president Prof Philip Nolan said: “I think this achievement signals how well placed we are to build on our success for years to come as a leading international university, rooted in and serving the needs of changing country and changing world.”
THE’s rankings editor, Phil Baty, also commented on the university’s placement, describing its ability to break into the top 50 as an “exceptional achievement”.
“Maynooth has particular strength in its ‘international outlook’, ensuring it attracts global talent and collaborates in research with universities across the world,” he said.
“This has helped it achieve a strong score, also for its global research impact.”
Asia dominates top five
DCU president Prof Brian MacCraith also welcomed the university’s rise to the top 50, saying: “[Its ranking] is particularly significant in a post-Brexit landscape where the reputation of our education and research offerings will be critical if Ireland is to exploit the opportunities presented.”
Of the top five universities, four of them are in Asia, including: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Nanyang Technology University (Singapore), Pohang University of Science and Technology (South Korea) and Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.
In first place was Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.