No Irish university makes the top 200 in the latest world rankings

TCD excluded from Times Higher Education list after providing incorrect data

No Irish university makes the top 200 in the latest world rankings

A man photographs the crowds in the front square in Trinity College | File photo: PA images

No Irish university has secured a top 200 spot in a prestigious global ranking, as concern grows over the impact of education funding cuts.

The latest Times Higher Education (THE) list places UCD in the 201-250 band, down from joint 176 last year.

The university is now in the same grouping as NUI Galway and the RCSI, both of which have risen from the 251-300 category.

Trinity College was excluded from the league table after submitting incorrect information to THE earlier this year, and in 2015.

The university, which fell from 138 to 160 last year, contacted the ranking agency to point out the error. The mistake is not believed to have been intentional.

A spokesperson for Trinity told Newstalk.com that it is working with THE to resolve the issue. A review of its data is now being undertaken.

The four other third-level institutions remain unchanged in the new edition, published tonight.

UCC is listed in the 351-400 range, while DCU stands at 401-500. The University of Limerick is still at 501-600, just above DIT, which comes in within the 601-800 bracket.

American universities continue to dominate the table, taking seven of the top 10 spots.

Oxford is this year’s top-ranked institution, followed by the California Institute of Technology and Stanford University.

The Times list is based on five categories: teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry outcome.

Call for investment

Rankings editor Phil Baty said the findings show Ireland's best universities are continuing to struggle.

"While the root of the problem is the increased competition among the world’s elite universities, particularly those in Asia, it seems clear that the major funding cuts endured by Ireland’s universities are causing problems."

Mr Baty highlighted gains made by NUI Galway and RCSI but said Trinity College and UCD should be supported as national assets.

"Ireland is one of the lowest investors in higher education among all OECD countries and you simply cannot sustain world-class universities on the cheap," he said.

Mike Jennings of the Irish Federation of University Teachers (IFUT) called on Minister for Education Richard Bruton to commit to increased third-level funding in the wake of the new ratings figures.

"The toxic combination of financial cutbacks and staffing cuts enforced on universities by consecutive government over the past decade, despite rapidly increasing student numbers, is the root cause of the current malaise," he said.

"Between 2007 and 2014, state funding for our seven universities was slashed  by 28%, from €722.8m in 2007 to €522.2m, while  full-time student enrollment surged by 18%, from 78,577 in 2008 to 93,023 in 2014.

"The fact that two consecutive ratings reports within a month have revealed the same analysis of our universities leaves no doubt or wriggle room for Minister Bruton.

"He must act now if Ireland’s international reputation for high education standards is not to be seriously undermined."