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Trinity College calls for university rankings strategy after falling 44 places in worldwide list

The university is now rated as 164th best in the world compared with 120th last year.

Image: Shutterstock/faithie

TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN has called for a “national strategy for university rankings” after dropping 44 places in the World University Rankings today.

The university is now rated as 164th best in the world in the Times Higher Education list compared with 120th last year. 

It is Ireland’s only representative in the top 200, with UCD and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ranked between 201 and 250.

In a statement today, Trinity College said the latest decline “is part of a pattern which began in the years following the financial crisis when funding per student was drastically cut.

“It also follows de-funding of investigator-led research funding to universities, having an impact on publication output and innovation. A similar fall next year would mean that no university in Ireland would be ranked in the top 200 by Times Higher Education,” the university said. 

“Much of the decline is relative as other countries invest in education,” it added. 

“Trinity’s decline came despite good performances across many categories. This included the University’s capacity to attract international students and participate in significant international research collaborations,” it said. 

In response to the rankings, Trinity has said that higher education rankings should be made a national priority by the government. 

Fianna Fáil education spokesperson, Thomas Byrne, said the decline was “deeply disappointing”.

“After eight years of inaction on third level funding, poor performances in university rankings now seem like an inevitability. There is clearly a funding and leadership crisis in our third-level sector which the government has failed to get to grips with,” he said. 

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In all, nine Irish institutions make the 1000-strong list, with University College Cork, Dublin City University, Maynooth University, University of Limerick and Technological University Dublin also making the grade.

NUI Galway welcomed its jump into the top 300 universities.

Commenting on today’s list, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “This year, NUI Galway improved its score and its ranking band which we welcome as a reflection of the continuous effort across this University.”

Maynooth University, meanwhile, made it into the top 301-350 bracket after placing in 351-400 range last year. 

In terms of the top universities in the world, UK and US institutions dominate the top 10 in the Times Higher Education rankings.

On top is the University of Oxford, followed by the California Institute of Technology and University of Cambridge. 

The US and the UK are well represented, with 60 and 28 universities in the top 200 respectively, although the UK faces decline this year with 18 of its 28 universities dropping by at least one place since last year. 

France improved greatly since last year’s rankings with five universities in the top 200 compared with one last year. 

Mainland China, meanwhile, now has two universities in the top 25 worldwide - Tsinghua University (23rd) and Peking University (24th). 

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