THE UNIVERSITY of Limerick has fallen 20 places in the global league rankings of the best universities.
UL has fallen to 523rd place in the list, down from 503rd last year.
However, on its website - www.topuniversities.com - it praises UL as “a young, energetic and enterprising university with a proud record of innovation in education and excellence in research and scholarship.
“Outstanding recreational, cultural and sporting facilities further enhance this exceptional learning environment,” states the influential website.
Since 2006 UL’s place has consistently remained around the 500-mark bracket, but this year it remains ahead of Dublin Institute of Technology, at 558th place, and NUI Maynooth, at 628th place.
Ahead of UL are Trinity College Dublin - recognised in the league as the best university in Ireland and in the top 100 worldwide at 71st place, followed by University College Dublin, University College Cork, NUI Galway, and Dublin City University.
But Trinity too has fallen 10 places in the list, down from 61st last year, in what has been described as an indication of the damage done to Ireland’s reputation by funding cuts at third level. It achieved its best rating in 2006.
Summarising their findings, QS said “2014/15 saw an overarching decline in Irish universities”.
“The indicator for international faculty declined for all Irish institutions, while the highest indicators across the board for Irish institutions are those of student faculty ratio and international students, indicating potential improvement in the future at the student level,” said QS.
UL received four stars for excellence based on seven categories - research, employability, teaching, facilities, internationalization, innovation, engagement. In December last it was announced that a €100 million loan from the European Investment Bank to the University of Limerick will help “transform education in the west of Ireland and significantly improve student life in Limerick for future generations”.
First compiled in 2004, the QS World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world’s leading universities. They are based on data covering four key areas of concern for students: research, employability, teaching and internationalization.
The best in the world are listed as MIT, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, Harvard University, University of Oxford, University College London, Stanford, California Institute of Technology, Princeton and Yale in tenth place.