College rankings place UCD in top 100 for first time

 

THE WORLD ranking of Irish universities has improved dramatically in the past year, according to a highly regarded international league table.

With UCD entering the top 100 for the first time, the Republic now has two colleges in this elite group. Trinity has climbed six places to 43, while UCD is up 19, to 89.

Trinity is also ranked as the 13th best university in Europe.

The Times Higher Education/QS World University Rankings, published today, has other good news for Ireland: UCC is up 19 places, to 207.

NUI Galway is up no less than 125 places, to 243. DCU is ranked at 279, up from 302 last year. Dublin Institute of Technology is up marginally to 326.

Making its first appearance in the rankings, NUI Maynooth is ranked between 400 and 500. University of Limerick is also in the same ranking.

The rankings represent a boost for UCD president Dr Hugh Brady, whose "pro-business" and modernisation agenda has had a huge influence across the sector. UCD's world rankings have been transformed: four years ago it languished in 221st place in the world.

The success of both TCD and UCD in securing places in the top 100 is also a boost for the UCD/TCD Innovation Alliance, unveiled earlier this year. The new rankings will also help both universities attract international academic staff and students.

With more than 2,000 colleges surveyed, the QS World University Rankings are regarded as the most reliable guide to university performance. Colleges are ranked by academics and employers on the basis of data gathered on peer academic review; employer review; international faculty ratio; international student ratio; student faculty ratio; and citations per faculty.

Dr Brady said the ranking puts UCD in the top 5 per cent of universities worldwide.

"While one could find fault with any university ranking system, the reality is that rankings matter: they matter when top-quality international students and staff are choosing a university, they matter increasingly to Irish students when deciding whether to study in Ireland or abroad, and they are cited as one of the top 10 reasons why multinational companies choose a particular region in which to invest."

TCD provost Dr John Hegarty said: "Our stated ambition was to be at the front rank of world universities and among the top 50 globally. We have achieved that in a relatively short period of time and this year's ranking of 43rd place has surpassed that original goal."

UCC president Dr Michael Murphy warned that the Irish university sector continued to face a severe financial crisis. "In the face of continued cuts, the danger is that the Irish university sector will be forced into a non-competitive position, thereby affecting our ability to compete internationally at the highest level and drive forward the Government's own agenda for a knowledge-based economy."

Britain and the US continue to dominate the list of top 10 universities. Harvard retains its ranking as the top university in the world, with Cambridge moving ahead of Yale for the second spot.

World rankings

1:Harvard, US

2:University of Cambridge, UK

3:Yale University, US

4:UCL (University College London)

5:Oxford, UK

5:Imperial College London, UK

7:University of Chicago, US

8:Princeton University (US)

9:Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), US

10:California Institute of Technology (US)

43:Trinity College Dublin

89:University College Dublin

207:UCC

243:NUI Galway

279:DCU

326:Dublin Institute of Technology

400-500:NUI Maynooth and UL

Source: Times Higher Education - QS World University Rankings 2009