UCD has dropped out of the top 200 universities following the release of the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The news comes on the back of a 22 place decline in the QS World University Rankings earlier this month.
UCD has fallen from 176th place into the 201-250th band. Some Irish institutions did fare better though, with both the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway also moving into the 201-250th place category. University College Cork (UCC) and NUI Maynooth held their positions in the 351-400th band.
Trinity College Dublin (TCD) was omitted from the rankings due to a data error. This is not the first time TCD has had a run in with the rankings this year. In March, it was revealed it had breached regulations for the QS World Rankings by sending out letters to academics, alumni and employers, as part of an awareness campaign to inform them of upcoming ranking surveys.
With UCD falling and TCD absent, it marks the first time in the 12 years of rankings that Ireland has no university within the top 200. The fall in rankings, while disappointing, comes as no surprise to many in the college as Irish universities have continued to slowly slide down the rankings tables over the past few years.
Professor Andrew Deeks, President of UCD, and Patrick Prendergast, Provost of TCD, recently released a joint statement regarding the issue of third level finance. They argued that the diminished spending in relation to higher education has started to take effect on the potential of Irish universities and noted how basic funding per student had dropped by 22% between 2007/2008 and 2013/2014, according to the Cassells group. It is estimated that Irish universities are receiving now €1,838 less per student than they did in 2007/08, as a result of a 50% cut in state grants, and rising student numbers.
Deeks and Prendergast have implored the government to make sure our higher education sector is given the means to compete internationally. However, in the absence of a political coalition to reverse declining funding, the continuing trend will mean UCD and other Irish universities face an uphill difficult task of maintaining their places on the global leaderboards.
Kevin Deegan | News Writer