Irish universities fail to make list of top 100 institutions

Ireland has not managed to win a place on the list for the fourth year

Irish universities have failed to achieve placement on a top 100 list of the world’s most prestigious institutions as measured by their international reputation. US and UK institutions dominate the list of “super brand” universities released this evening by Times Higher Education. Trinity College Dublin (above) ranks at about 200.

Irish universities have failed to achieve placement on a top 100 list of the world’s most prestigious institutions as measured by their international reputation. US and UK institutions dominate the list of “super brand” universities released this evening by Times Higher Education. Trinity College Dublin (above) ranks at about 200.

Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 08:14

Irish universities have failed to achieve placement on a top 100 list of the world’s most prestigious institutions as measured by their international reputation.

US and UK institutions dominate the list of “super brand” universities released this evening by Times Higher Education.

The list is based solely on reputation, with 10,536 academics asked to name their top 15 institutions in their fields of expertise. Those polled for the 2014 rankings were from 133 countries including Ireland. For the fourth year since the survey began, Ireland has not managed to win a place on the list.

The World Reputation Rankings are a highly subjective measure of an institution’s strengths, yet it is economically important, said Phil Baty, the editor of the Times Higher Education rankings. Having a good reputation internationally helps a university to attract staff, students, business investment, research partners and philanthropy.

“Ireland never had a university in the top 100 but to be honest all the Irish institutions are well outside the top 100,” Mr Baty said.

“This is a challenge for the Irish institutions. It is important because you need to stay competitive internationally, there is a risk of falling into a vicious circle,” he said.

US universities took eight of the top 10 positions, with two UK institutions in the top 10. These “super brands” stood head and shoulders above the rest, according to Times Higher Education.

The US has 46 in the top 100, the UK has 10, Germany has six, Japan has five and the Netherlands four. Canada, South Korea and Hong Kong each have three and Switzerland, Singapore, China and France each have two in the top 100.

Trinity College Dublin was currently stable at about 200, he said. University College Dublin, University College Cork and Dublin City University were at about 300, he said. “They are not far off and maybe they need to become more aggressive internationally and increase their visibility.”

Mr Baty rejected the idea that academic voting was based solely on marketing and brand recognition.

“This survey is asking experienced senior academics and no amount of glitz or marketing promotion can substitute for having a reputation for quality work,” he said. “But marketing has a role, you have to be able to sell yourself to the world.”

There was research showing an institution’s standing was the number one consideration for students. “They are making a massive investment in their future, it is a matter of who do they trust. You need a global reputation and a degree from a name that employers will recognise,” he said. “It is also important for attracting academic talent who make decisions not just based on salary or location. They want to be part of a prestige institution.”

President of NUI Galway Dr James Browne was doubtful about the value of reputation ranking done in this way. “Ranking is important but it should be evidence-based,” he said. “Reality and perception are two different things.”

Trinity College Dublin said in a statement it delivers for Ireland at the highest international levels and was ranked as Ireland’s leading university, yet it competes against strong global competition that impacts on rankings.