Times Higher education 2016 rankings for European Universities, published recently here are an interesting read.
- TCD at 78th place, below TU Dresden, U of Liverpool, and a bunch of other not too 'premier league' schools. Average showing, given it is 78th across Europe.
- UCD in 88th place. Below Eidhoven UofTech, U of Konstanz, U of Barcelona et al. Good news, it is close to TCD, creating something of a cluster. Bad news is: no Irish Uni in top50 for Europe.
- Third highest ranked school in Ireland is apparently NUI Galway (edging out UC Cork) which is ranked somewhere between 131st and 140th places. Not in top100, thus, despite the fact these rankings are for Europe alone.
- Fourth highest ranked is a specialist school - the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland - a stronger position for the school, given it has no broader remit of, say NUIG. It also ranks somewhere between 131st and 140th.
- Fifth is UC Cork in the group of Unis ranked 181st through 190th in Europe. It makes top 200, thus, but only by a small margin.
- Sixth is NUI Maynooth which manages to make top 200 in Europe by squeezing into the ranking group between 191st and 200th.
Overall, not a pretty picture, to be honest. Yes, rankings are not the only metric worth pursuing. Not even the main metric (in my opinion). But rankings do determine students demand for schools, and they determine faculty recruitment. And they do reflect a range of assessment metrics that do matter. And worse, they are all starting to converge on a conclusion that Irish Universities have suffered a long-term set back to their competitiveness during the years of the crisis.
Don't blindly trust the rankings. But don't ignore them either.