Trinity has experienced a significant fall in the Times Higher Education world university rankings. The newly released data shows Trinity at 164th place, a significant fall from 120th place in 2019.
Trinity has been on a downward trajectory in the rankings over the past decade. The university was counted as one of the top 100 academic institutes worldwide in 2011, sitting at 76th place.
Every year since, bar 2016, Trinity has fallen in the rankings, dropping to 120th by 2019.
Since then both universities in Ireland and experts such as the rankings editor of THE, Ellie Bothwell, have cautioned the Irish government about their lack of investment in third level institutions. They warn that with Trinity’s fluctuating placement on the global rankings, Ireland may not have any universities in the top 200 next year.
Comparatively, universities in Asian countries such as the University of Hong Kong and Tsinghua University have steadily climbed up the rankings.
Trinity’s Dean of Research, Professor Linda Doyle stated that while the university’s performance was steady, she was disappointed in the results. Doyle revealed she believes the slip in the rankings is due to the fact that while Trinity is progressing, it does not receive the same funding that other international universities do.
She stated: “This is not good enough in a world that sees many of our global competitors improve their scores through focused and sustained investment by their governments. There is no denying that continuing underinvestment in university education and research in Ireland is catching up with us.”
Doyle suggests that the method to fix Ireland’s position is by investing in its institutions. She points to next month’s budget as the possible final line for this issue.
In a press release following the decline in Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2020, Trinity called on the government to take action and collaborate with universities in Ireland so that a national strategy can be formulated.
They cite problematic patterns that arose during the financial crisis as reasoning for such a dramatic fall in the rankings. During this period, third level education was hit hard and experienced a considerable cut to funding per student. Trinity also referred to the defunding of investigator-led research to universities, which resulted in an effect on publication output and innovation as a factor.