Irish universities have lost ground in the latest international university rankings despite increases in many of their overall scores.
The latest table from Quacquarelli Symonds, one of the most-cited world ranking systems, showed a decrease in DCU’s position in the rankings to 366th, a 17 point drop since last year.
Trinity’s score increased from 75.1 to 75.3, making it the highest ranking Irish university at 71st. So too did the score of University College Dublin (UCD), from 61.2 to 62.6, keeping it in 139th.
University College Cork fell from 210th to 230th, with its overall score falling from 50.6 to 49.5. NUIG however, rose four to 280th with a score of 43.6, up from 41.5 in 2013.
The QS tables are based on a number of indicators, including academic reputation, citations per faculty, employer reputation, and the ratio of students to staff.
Trinity beat other Irish universities in half of the six key categories, but UCD had the best ranking for international students (56th) and employer reputation (129th). NUI Galway’s 234th ranking in faculty-student ratios is Ireland’s highest, and University of Limerick is in the top 100 with Trinity for international faculty members, at 86th.
According to QS, all eight Irish institutions’ scores dropped for proportions of international academics on staff, but there were some positive indicators.
“The highest indicators across the board for Irish institutions are those of student faculty ratio and international students, indicating potential improvement in the future at the student level,” it said.
Universities excelling in technology, particularly in Asia, saw the greatest increase in the latest QS rankings.
“Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation. With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine.” said QS head of research, Ben Sowter.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology is ranked the top university internationally, with the University of Cambridge and Imperial College London tying for second place.