Institutes of technology top in third-level rankings despite running significant deficits

DIT ranked above six Irish universities as Waterford IT, IT Tralee and GMIT continue to have “serious financial situations”

Credit: William Murphy, Flickr

Ireland’s institutes of technology (ITs) have fared better than universities in the 2017 edition of U-Multirank. The study compares third level institutions under different headings including research, knowledge transfer and international orientation instead of overall rankings. Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and University College Cork (UCC) both received thirteen As, denoting very good scores out of thirty-nine different indicators.

The results come after the Higher Education Authority (HEA) announced that three institutes of technology, Waterford IT, IT Tralee and Galway Mayo IT, continue to have “significant” financial deficits. Another three that were on the critical list in 2016 – Cork IT, Dundalk IT and Letterkenny IT – are now balancing their books, HEA chief executive Dr. Graham Love told the Public Accounts Committee last week.

Love said the HEA is working with all the institutes to help them address their “serious financial situations”. The HEA has advised that all six must continue to deliver their agreed financial plans to ensure long-term sustainability. The financial situation of the six institutes was highlighted in a HEA report last year, which warned of a real risk of money running out for the three institutes within the next two years.

Despite the financial difficulties, Institute of Technology Tallaght (ITT) scored ten As, Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) scored twelve, IT Tralee eight, and Galway-Mayo IT scored six. The other six Irish universities scored fewer As, with five for Maynooth University (MU) and University College Dublin (UCD) and eleven for Dublin City University (DCU). Trinity scored six, whereas University of Limerick (UL) scored eight and National University of Ireland, Galway received nine.

Universities scored higher in research categories, which include external income, citations, and research publications. UCC got As in six out of ten research indicators, followed by four at NUIG and UL, three for Trinity, and two each at NUIM and UCD.

U-Multirank stipulated that a higher number of As did not necessitate a higher quality institution. “Each university has various strengths and weaknesses, or the data could simply not apply to them, reducing their chances of achieving A scores,” a spokesperson said.

Sarah Meehan

Sarah is a 2nd year German and Economics student.