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Posted 16 September 2014

UCD holds position in QS World University Rankings

The annual QS World University Rankings, just published, place UCD at 139 – the same position as in 2013.  The rankings are based on six metrics with the main weighting going to academic reputation with a weighting of 40%, student:faculty ratio and citations per faculty a weighting of 20% each and employer reputation a weighting of 10%. 

Under these principal metrics, UCD increased its score under the citations per faculty and employer reputation, but these improvements were counterbalanced by an increase in students per faculty relative to universities outside Ireland. 
Commenting on the rankings, the President of UCD, Professor Andrew Deeks said:

“It is worth noting that UCD continues to climb in the metrics that measure research quality and output.  Specifically, the citations per faculty have risen once again. This is a clear reflection on the calibre and commitment of faculty across the entire University.

UCD is holding its own in a tough economic environment where funding levels and staff numbers remain outside our control.  Despite these pressures, we are rated number one in Ireland among employers, and this is a clear affirmation of the quality of education we give our students and their reputation when they graduate and begin their careers.

However, the deterioration of student:faculty ratios relative to our international peers should be cause for great concern in this country, and confirms the need for the mechanism and level of funding of the Irish universities to be reviewed, and the constraints placed by the employment control framework on universities to be lifted.”

In a statement from QS, head of research Ben Sowter, said that funding cuts and reforms inevitably have had an impact on the Irish university sector. 

“Because of the nature of budget cycles and the delay in appearance in some of our measures, the timescale over which they affect the ranking results can be unpredictable.  Given this trend, UCD has done well to maintain its position with a strong performance in Employer Reputation balancing setbacks elsewhere.”

In global terms, the emphasis on high-impact scientific and technological research is the key driver in the QS World University Rankings.

“The rankings are, for the third year, led by MIT which increased year-on-year citations per faculty by 14%. Imperial College also reported a 14% increase in this metric compared to 11% by Cambridge and 2% by Harvard.  The average increase in this dimension amongst the top 10 was 7%.  Caltech remains the world’s top university for research citations.

The performance of Imperial College in citations per faculty has helped it become the biggest climber in the top 10, leapfrogging Harvard, UCL and Oxford to rank second equal in the world, tied with University of Cambridge.”

A total of 31 countries are represented in the top 200; where the US is the dominant nation, with 51 institutions, ahead of the UK (29), Germany (13), the Netherlands (11), Canada (10), Japan (10) and Australia (8).  Ireland has two universities in the top 200.

“In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding source are placing greater emphasis on high-impact STEM research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions,” Sowter said. “Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation. With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine.”


(Produced by UCD University Relations)


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Rachel Adeoye, Agata Blasiak, Brian Mullins, UCD Director of Sport, Ollie Brogan, Managing Director, ESB International, Bittini Ribagyiza and Low Yik Chin. UCD, Belfield, Dublin.
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