The Sunday Times newspaper has named University College Dublin as the University of the Year. This has been announced on the same week that UCD have dropped to 187th place in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The opening of the new €50m sport and fitness student centre has been cited as the main reason for UCD to collect the award. The paper also states that “University College Dublin is unrivalled in the strength of its investment in students”.

The president of UCD Hugh Brady spoke about the award and how the new student centre was an important factor by saying “It’s got the most wonderful debating chamber which draws inspiration from the House of Commons. It’s a wonderfully clever design. It’s named after Garret Fitzgerald, sickness for his role in both the L&H and the Law society when he was in UCD.”

UCD’s growing international influence is also a decisive reason for the award being given to the college. The university recently announced the completion of UCD’s international college in Beijing. The income from international students has increased from €28m four years ago to €43m now, as well as UCD having the largest amount of third level international students.

Almost 50% of students move on to do postgraduate degrees, and 93% of UCD graduates go on to work or further education within nine months. However UCD has also received criticism over the past few weeks for reducing their academic staff figures by 10 % due to budget cuts, and also for closing the James Joyce library on Sundays.

NUI Galway has been named as the runner-up for the award, whilst Limerick IT has been named the Institute of Technology of the year. Trinity College Dublin remains on top of the Sunday Times University league table. The UK University of the Year has went to University of Exeter, with Queen’s University Belfast as runner-up.

 – Thomas Cullen