UL targets international students in effort to improve ranking

Limerick college aims for 60% increase in foreign students in attempt to raise profile

In the latest QS rankings University of Limerick went up from the 501-550 bracket to 471-480. File photograph: Press 22

In the latest QS rankings University of Limerick went up from the 501-550 bracket to 471-480. File photograph: Press 22


University of Limerick (UL) says it will boost its international student cohort by 60 per cent in the next five years in an ambitious plan to climb further up the university rankings.

In the strategic plan published on Friday, the university sets out as one of its top priorities “raising international profile” which has a direct impact on global rankings.

“Whatever their imperfections and limitations, we ignore them at our peril,” it says of the global league tables.

In the latest QS rankings this month, UL went up from the 501-550 bracket to 471-480. UK publishers Times Higher Education issue their rankings next week.

Speaking in Limerick at the publication of UL’s plan, Broadening Horizons, Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan said the university had been ranked “inside the top 6 per cent of universities worldwide and that has been achieved in a very short 43 years.

“The sense of ambition to push further and constantly improve its international standing is very evident each time I visit the campus and I have no doubt that the ambitious goals laid out in this new strategy will be achieved.”


Among the targets set in the plan are:

* Major increases in quality and quantity of research outputs with a 50 per cent increase in citation impact of publications;

* Review postgraduate degree programmes and fee structures to attract more students to do Masters degrees and PhDs;

* Introduce broad entry programmes through the CAO by 2017 to allow entrants specialise later in their studies;

* Develop a new revenue stream from summer-school programmes for international students;

* Give staff more opportunities for mobility to highly ranked universities through new institutional partnerships;

* 30 per cent increase in outward student mobility, with more than 20 per cent of UL students spending at least one semester abroad by 2020;

* Maintain UL’s strong performance in the in GreenMetric university rankings through environmentally friendly management.

UL president Prof Don Barry said the university had achieved research awards this year reaching €50million, and “the growth in international research funding opportunities, particularly the EU’s Horizon 2020, means that we must look outward and position ourselves as a university of the world”.

The university highlights a number of major developments in progress, including the Bernal Project, a €52 million investment encompassing the creation of new professorships and the construction of a new research building supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

This along with the establishment of UL Health Research Institute last year “stand out in terms of their potential to transform the university’s future profile”.