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TCD falls in Times Higher Education rankings

UCD has retained its ranking in the 201 – 250 bracket in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2019, released today. Marginal improvements across four of the five metrics were not enough to take UCD out of the 201 – 250 ranking for 2019. The University received higher scores across ‘Teaching’, ‘Citations’, ‘Industry Income’ and ‘International Outlook’ metrics while experiencing a fall in the ‘Research’ metric for the 3rd year straight.

Unlike UCC, NUI Galway, DIT and four other universities, UCD was not ranked on its ratio of female to male students. Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) was the only other Irish-ranked university not to be ranked on this ratio. Trinity College Dublin (TCD) has the highest ratio of female to male students, at 59:41, while Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) has the lowest ratio at 42:58.

TCD, the top-ranked university in Ireland, slipped three places to 120th globally despite a marginal improvement in their overall score. TCD received a score of 59.2 for 2019, up on a score of 58.7 received last year.

UCD has plummeted in the Times University Rankings for the past 7 years. Ranked 94th globally in 2011, UCD has sat in the 201 – 250 bracket since 2017.

With over 15,000 students in full-time education, DIT was Ireland’s lowest ranked third level institute, placing in the 801 – 1000. UCC rose in the rankings to enter the top 350 and Maynooth University (MU) broke into the top 400.

The general decline in the rankings comes amid a funding crisis in the higher education sector. Writing in the University Observer earlier this year, Director General of the Irish Universities Association Jim Miley stated that the “political inaction” since the publication of the Cassells report, which detailed funding options for Irish universities, “has surpassed many previous ‘dust-gathering on a shelf’ records.” Criticising the Irish Government’s response to the crisis, Miley pointed out that, at €4,500 per student, public funding for universities is “just half of what is was a decade ago”.

The call for greater public funding was echoed by Ellie Bothwell, rankings editor for the Times Higher Education, saying, “to excel, [Ireland’s] universities will require strong investment, the drive and ability to attract and retain the very best global talent, and a much-strengthened focus on research.”

International students make up almost 70 per cent of the student population in RCSI, the highest in Ireland, while MU has the lowest proportion at 12 per cent. 27 per cent of UCD’s student body are international students.

The reverse is true in the case of students per member of staff. MU has 27.6 students per member of staff, while there is one member of staff for every 19.1 students in RCSI.

TCD mostly dominated across all scoring metrics. UCC, however, received a higher score for ‘Industry Income’ and RCSI research received a higher score for ‘Citations’.