Category Archives: Irish universities

16/12/15: Only 2/5 Global Ranking Methodologies Show an Irish Uni in Top 100

Universities rankings are a hazardous undertaking. Too many moving metrics, too many subjective inputs, too many egos fighting each other and too many euros and dollars and rupees and pounds etc at stake from funding sources. So one really should take them with a grain of salt and in comparatives look at a number of rankings across the board.

So here's a set of simple facts:

US NWR rankings:
QS rankings:

Wikipedia rankings:

Note: although QS and Wikipedia rankings for Trinity are relatively close, two methodologies are quite different. In terms of perceived robustness, ARWU and THE, are seen as top quality rankings, with QS and USNWR methodologies being usually seen as 'intermediate' quality and Wikipedia rankings being, err... a bit off-the-wall. 

Still, net effect is: 3/5 global universities rankings give Ireland zero places in top 100. No matter how you spin this, it ain't great...

5/11/15: Times Higher Education Rankings of Irish Universities: 2016

Times Higher Education rankings of universities are out and the bad news is that Irish universities are doing poorly as a group and more poorly in 2016 rankings than in 2015.

Here is a snapshot of country’s ranked institutions:

And here is the disaster unfolding over time:

So over the last two years of the ‘recovery’: three out of top-ranked 5 Irish universities saw their rankings tank, one saw the ranking static, one saw rankings improve in 2014-2015 table before somewhat deteriorating in 2015-206 table. Three Irish universities are now in the ‘Third Tier’ of global performance, two are in the ‘Second Tier’ and none are in the ‘World Class” group.

Meanwhile, of course, Irish third level education and academic research sustained second largest (in % terms) funding cuts since the start of the Global Financial Crisis amongst all OECD economies.

That is not to say that Irish Universities are doing everything possible to improve their performance. No, sir, we are still stuck in the old mode of past promotions, rewards, hiring and assessment practices. And we are still failing to develop non-tenured faculty and adjunct faculty engagement with rankle activities, including… err… academic research. 

Any surprises, thus? 

7/10/15: Of Island of Scholars…

A very interesting set of interactive charts showing the impact of the crisis on third level funding and student numbers across various European states:

One shocking conclusion: whilst Ireland experienced a robust increase in the number of students during the crisis, Irish public funding for universities fell at a second highest rate in the EU (after Greece). You can see where these comparatives put us in contrast to, say, Iceland.

15/8/15: Irish Universities: None in Top 100, One in Top 200 & Top 300

Academic Ranking of World Universities 2015 are out (see details here: and Ireland is not exactly shining.

Only 3 Irish Universities are ranked in top 500:

TCD managed to post flat performance on 2014, reaching its highest Institutional rank since 2003. Which is the best news we had.

Meanwhile, UCD ranking fell pretty substantially, with university ranked in 201-300 place in 2014 now ranked in 301-400 place:

UCC posted second consecutive year of declines in 2015, although it stayed within the 401-500 ranking group.

I will be blogging on data coming out of the survey more later this month, but for now, top line conclusion is: things are not getting better in top Irish Unis relative performance.

Time for more self-congratulatory government talk, promises and awards… and let's get few more Unis designated, just because stretching already scarce resources thin is, obviously, the best way to achieve greatness...