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RCSI concerns over changes to university ranking system

By David Lynch - 21st Jan 2024

university rankings

The RCSI Council discussed concerns regarding changes to the Times Higher Education world university rankings methodology that could negatively impact the College’s position, the Medical Independent (MI) can reveal.

According to minutes seen following a Freedom of Information request, the issue was discussed at the RCSI Council’s meeting in September.

The meeting heard that the RCSI had maintained its position in the 201-to-250 band of the ranking system over the past seven years.

This was “despite an increase in competition as well as the doubling of the number of universities entering” the ranking system.

“The main driver of the [ranking]… is research, accounting for 73 per cent of the metrics, so it is testament to the research output of the RCSI that it has been able to consistently achieve top 250 status,” according to the minutes.

However, the meeting heard that the 2024 ranking would be conducted with “methodology changes” and “there is a strong possibility that the RCSI will drop below the 201-to-250 band”. The meeting heard that this issue had been included on the College risk register.

In the subsequently published 2024 rankings, the RCSI did drop down the ranking into the 251-to-300 band.

“While our overall score increased once again, a change in the ranking methodology and an increase in the number of universities taking part negatively impacted our overall ranking position,” an RCSI spokesperson told MI.

“We remain encouraged by our strong overall score and will continue to use the rankings as a framework and international benchmark to measure and reflect on our performance.”

The spokesperson added that the RCSI is currently the highest ranked university in the world “for our impact on good health and wellbeing, which is the third UN sustainable development goal”.

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