- TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION PUBLISHES LIST OF TOP 1,000 GLOBAL UNIVERSITIES
- TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN RISES 14 PLACES UP TOP 200
- EUROPEAN INSTITUTIONS OCCUPY HALF OF TOP 200 PLACES BUT FACE A CHALLENGE FROM ASIA
London, 5th September 2017: The Times Higher Education today publishes the 14th annual edition of its World University Rankings, the definitive list of the top 1,000 universities from 77 countries. Trinity College Dublin has jumped 14 places to joint 117th due to a stronger teaching reputation and greater research influence (citations). Overall, Ireland’s representation has remained the same since last year with nine institutions in the top 1,000.
The majority of Ireland’s universities remain in the same bands as last year. Maynooth University, which dropped from the 351-400 band to the 401-500 band is the only other mover. The institution suffered a decline in its doctorate to academic staff ratio and citation impact.
Funding to Irish universities was cut by about 30 per cent during the period of economic austerity after 2008, while a cap on the number of permanent employees has led to a 20 per cent reduction in faculty and staff numbers.
During the same period, the government took control of the salaries and remuneration of staff and mandated that there would be no compulsory redundancies. Despite Ireland’s economic recovery, the cuts and constraints have not been reversed. There are signs that these cuts are impacting on universities’ student-to-staff ratios and their ability to attract world-leading researchers.
Globally, the University of Oxford retains first place in the World University Rankings. The University of Cambridge climbs two places to second, overtaking California Institute of Technology and Stanford University, both joint third. While the United States continues to dominate the rankings, Chinese universities are rapidly climbing year-on-year.
Phil Baty, Editorial Director, Global Rankings, THE, said:
“It is great news that Trinity College Dublin has improved its performance and that Ireland’s other leading universities have remained steady despite pressures on funding and the continued rise of Asia. But Ireland’s global standing is likely to decline if funding does not increase and institutions are not given greater autonomy. The UK’s exit from the EU provides great opportunities for Ireland – the country could be well placed to attract researchers from the UK and elsewhere that want to retain access to EU research funding and remain in the EU. Ireland must ensure that invests in its universities to take advantage of its position and remain a key global player in higher education.”
Europe has maintained a strong performance in the THE World University Rankings despite increasing competition from Asia.
For the first time in the 13-year history of the rankings, two European institutions take the top two spots; the University of Oxford is number one for the second year in a row and the University of Cambridge jumps to second place from fourth. Switzerland’s ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich also clings onto a spot in the top 10, after dropping one place from ninth to joint 10th. Meanwhile, Trinity College Dublin has jumped 14 places to 117th this year.
Italy and Spain both have new number ones thanks to large rises for two of their institutions: Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and Pompeu Fabra University.
But the rise of Asia is becoming an increasing threat to Europe’s standing in the rankings. China’s two leading universities now outrank Germany’s top institution LMU Munich. Germany also has two fewer institutions in the top 200; of the 20 institutions that still make this cohort, 12 have slipped. Tsinghua University has also overtaken Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and Peking University now outranks the Karolinska Institute and is on a par with the University of Edinburgh.
Europe now has seven institutions in the top 30 while Asia has three. Last year these figures were 10 and two respectively.
Phil Baty continued:
“Europe is one of the leading regions in the THE World University Rankings and is now home to more than half of the top-200 spots (101 compared to 99 last year). The University of Cambridge’s rise to second place, in particular, is a fantastic achievement, while other improvements show the strength of the region amid increasing global competition. But there are signs that Asia is starting to threaten the position of some of Europe’s leading institutions, while Brexit poses a huge risk to the success of UK universities in the future. Europe will need to work hard to ensure it can sustain its performance in future years.”
The calculation of the THE World University Rankings 2018 has been subject to an independent audit by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), making these the only global university rankings to be subjected to full, independent scrutiny of this nature.