By Adam Higgins
Dublin City University is one of the only Irish universities to have gone up in the QS World University Rankings this year.
DCU rose three places to become the 326th best university in the world. Trinity College Dublin fell 13 places to 65th while UCD fell 20 places to 134th. NUI Galway also dropped 66 places down to 298th.
Trinity College’s education officer, Rachel Barry, says that the general drop in Irish rankings is “partly due to the current economic crisis and also partly due to Ireland’s reputation on the world stage.”
In relation to Trinity’s drop to 65th, Rachel blamed the financial crisis and drop in funding.
These further drops in Irish university standards have caused some academics to call for a radical change in the way the institutes are funded, with some suggesting the return of college fees.
Minister for Research, Sean Sherlock, hit back at these claims, saying that Ireland is still ranked sixth in the world for third-level education standards.
“When the number of universities in the top 200 is considered against Gross Domestic Product, it shows that Ireland ranks sixth in the world.
“Such a high ranking reflects the Government’s strategy of improving Ireland’s entire academic ecosystem, rather than focusing on a very small number of elite institutions, as is done in some other countries,” he said.
DCU’s Education Officer, Cillian Byrne, feels that our rise in the rankings is due to “the level of continuous evaluation across the board” and the university continually “punching above its weight in bringing in research money.”
Talking to The Irish Times, DCU president, Prof Brian MacCraith, said: “DCU is delighted to have bucked the downward trend and, in fact, to have exhibited the largest increase in ranking of all the Irish universities… As a young and dynamic university, I am confident that we can continue our upward movement by continuing to aspire to excellence in research and teaching.”