Galway bucks trend in college table
Only one of 16 Irish universities and colleges improved their standing on an international league table this year, it has been revealed.
The QS World University Rankings puts NUI Galway four places higher on the list of the world's leading institutes, tying for 280th place.
University College Dublin (UCD) held on to position 139 while its rival in the capital Trinity College dropped 10 places to 71 but is still rated the best in Ireland.
The QS report said there has been an overarching decline in Irish universities international standing this year although it praised the student faculty ratio in the Irish institutes and their appeal for international students.
It ranked University College Cork at 230, a fall of 20 places and Dublin City University at 366, a fall of 15 places.
University of Limerick, Dublin Institute Technology and NUI Maynooth remained below the 500 mark.
Thirty-one countries have universities or colleges in the top 200.
The US dominates with 51 institutions, ahead of the UK on 29, Germany 13, the Netherlands 11, Canada and Japan 10 and Australia eight.
The top three are Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US, Cambridge University and Imperial College London all of which were praised for science and technology innovation.
The ranking research pointed to a shift in focus in the third level sector in recent years towards more high-level research.
Ben Sowter, QS head of research, said: "In the wake of the recession, both governments and private sector funding source are placing greater emphasis on high-impact stem research, much of which takes place in specialist institutions," he said.
"Tech-focused institutions are increasingly the focal point of a global race for innovation.
"With budgets from public sources increasingly coming under strain, institutions seem more focused than ever on potentially lucrative research in science, technology and medicine."
QS produces an annual league table of the top universities in the world which is now in its 10th year.
It looks at four key pillars of research, teaching, employability and internationalization with the survey looking at academic and employer reputation, faculty student ratio, citations per faculty, international students and international faculty.
In 2014, 63,676 academic and 28,759 employer responses contributed to the survey.