Mixed performance among Irish universities in latest university rankings

Trinity climbs to 146th, but four colleges slip down Times Higher Education league table

Some of Ireland’s top universities have climbed up the latest set of world rankings. However, there is mixed news for other colleges who either slipped down or held last year’s positions.

Trinity College Dublin remains Ireland's leading university, climbing nine places to 146th in the Times Higher Education world university rankings 2022.

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland – now known as RCSI University of Medicine and Health Sciences – and UCD came joint second out of the top- ranked institutions in the Republic in the 201-250 category.

UCD improved by moving from the 251-300 category into the top 201-250, while RCSI held its ranking from last year.


UCC also did well, moving up from the 301-350 category into the 251-300 category this year.

NUI Galway slipped into the 351-400 category, from 301-350 last year, while DCU retained its position in the 501-600 category.

Maynooth University moved down into the 501-600 category, from 401-500 last year. Similarly, University of Limerick slipped into the 601-800 category, down from 501-600 last year.

Technological University Dublin – formed from the merger of DIT, IT Tallaght and IT Blanchardstown – fell outside the top-1,000, slipping from the 801-1,000 category into the top 1,001-1,200.

The Times Higher Education world university rankings include just more than 1,600 universities across 99 countries and regions.

The rankings are based on performance indicators in five areas: teaching; research; citations; international outlook; and industry income.

Increased investment

The improved showing by some top-ranked Irish universities will be seen as an encouraging step following increased investment in the sector in recent years.

However, slippage among four universities is likely to refocus the need for what the higher education sector describes as a sustainable funding model.

Trinity said its improved result was helped by strong performances in research and citations, two of the main categories on which the overall score is based.

Dean of research at Trinity, Prof Wolfgang Schmitt, said: "Excellence in research and teaching are the foundations of our university's activities . . . This ranking underlines Trinity's reputation as a modern, international academic institution."

RCSI chief executive Prof Cathal Kelly said this year’s performance was especially significant given that staff continued to conduct “world-class research and deliver an engaging academic experience, despite the immense challenges presented to us by the pandemic”.

UCD president Prof Andrew Deeks said the scores “are going in the right direction”.

“The reputation scores for both teaching and research have gone up and the position for ‘international outlook’ continues to be strong while industry income for research has been steadily growing.”

UK’s University of Oxford – which played a key role in the global search for a Covid-19 vaccine – retains the overall top spot for the sixth consecutive year.

It is followed by California Institute of Technology and Harvard University (joint second), Stanford University (fourth) and University of Cambridge (fifth).

China's rapid rise in the rankings continues as it claims its highest ever position with Tsinghua University and Peking University tied in 16th place.

Phil Baty, Times Higher Education's chief knowledge officer, said that while the world's elite universities have enjoyed a long period of dominance at the top of the table, there are "clear shifts" happening across higher education around the world.

"We are already seeing clear disruption to the established norms from mainland China, and record highs for Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong show that Asia is continuing to benefit from the focus and investment in higher education across the continent," he said.

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien

Carl O'Brien is Education Editor of The Irish Times. He was previously chief reporter and social affairs correspondent