Several Irish universities advance in world rankings

Thu, Nov 8, 2007, 00:00

The ranking of several Irish universities has improved in the latest league table from the prestigious Times Higher Education Supplement(THES).

Trinity College is now ranked as the 53rd best university in the world, up from 78 last year.

For the first time, University College Dublin has broken into the top 200 universities in the world, ranked 177th.

UCD president Dr Hugh Brady welcomed the ranking as "an encouraging support of those universities committed to major programmes of reform. The improved methodology, with the increased weighting given to high-quality peer-reviewed publications, maps out the only way to go for Irish higher education if it is to continue its upward trajectory . . ."

The ranking of DCU has also improved spectacularly, up almost 150 places to a place inside the top 300. It is the first time that the university has been ranked by the THES and represents a coup for a relatively new university.

Last night, its president, Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski, said that this reflected the university's major achievements across the board, particularly in research.

The rankings are the most comprehensive world listings. They are regarded as an important benchmark of quality by college heads. They are also widely used by prospective students, especially postgraduates.

The improved ranking for the Irish universities comes against a backdrop of huge controversy, particularly in Trinity and UCD where major restructuring has drawn fierce opposition from many academics.

But their improved showing seems certain to boost the so called "pro-business" agenda being pushed through by the TCD provost, Dr John Hegarty, and by Dr Brady in UCD.

The calculations leading to the THES-QS World University Rankings are based on data gathered in various categories including:

* Peer review;

* Recruiter review;

* International faculty ratio;

* International students ratio;

* Student faculty ratio;

* Citations per faculty.

The top 25 world universities are dominated by American colleges.

World's top universities

1 Harvard, US.

2 Oxford, UK;

Cambridge, UK;

Yale, US.

5 Imperial College, London

6 Princeton, US

7 California Institute of Technology, US;

University of Chicago, US.

9 UCL (University College London).

10 Massachusetts Institute  of Technology, US

53 Trinity College Dublin

177 University College Dublin