NUI Galway is Named University of the Year
NUI Galway has been named The Sunday Times University of the Year. Trinity College Dublin is the runner-up in The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. Athlone Institute of Technology is The Sunday Times Institute of Technology of the Year, while Letterkenny IT is the runner-up. The guide contains Ireland’s only league table that measures the performance of all 21 multi-faculty third-level institutions.
NUI Galway is the University of the Year for the third time since the guide was first published in 2002. The university first won the award in 2002 and again in 2009.
The university, which excels across the arts and sciences, has seen considerable recent investment. Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland, opened the O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance in April and a medical academy has come on stream in Donegal, in the grounds of Letterkenny University Hospital.
The university has a reputation as a centre of excellence in relation to medical technology, as evidenced by the launch in September 2016 of Curam, Science Foundation Ireland’s (SFI) centre for research in medical devices. The centre promotes links between academia and industry partners. The SFI and various companies will invest €49m over six years, with €19m more in funding coming from the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme.
The quality of academic staff at NUI Galway is also crucial to the university’s success, with a number of professors such as Henry Curran, Colin O’Dowd, Donal O’Regan and Dr Ronan Sulpice named among the world’s most highly cited researchers in an analysis of published research by multinational group Clarivite Analytics.
Research citations have helped the university rise further up the international university rankings this year. Academics garnered around €89,000 per head in research income in the Good University Guide’s latest survey of research power.
NUI Galway boasts the best job prospects of any university in the republic with an impressively low three per cent graduate unemployment rate, together with one of the best progression rates, which sees 88% of students complete their studies.
“We are very well attuned to the needs of the country and the region,” says Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway. “We try to orient our programme for the needs of our economy in the longer term. We also try to have an appropriate balance of traditional academic scholarship and work-based learning. We have a target that 80% of our undergraduate students would have experiential learning.”
More than 260 students took part in NUI Galway access and foundation courses this year, with 150 receiving an offer of entry. In total, the access programme office has 1,100-plus undergraduates on its books.
NUI Galway’s openness to alternative means of teaching and learning is evident, too, in its work with the Irish language. The university is close to the Connemara Gaeltacht, the largest Irish-speaking area in the country and as such NUI Galway celebrates and promotes the Irish language offering classes from beginner to advanced level as well as programmes taught through the medium of Irish.
Alastair McCall, Editor of The Sunday Times Good University Guide, says: “In the eight years since NUI Galway last won our University of the Year award it has continued to grow its global reputation as one of the great seats of learning. Some of its academics are among the most cited in the world and its reputation spans the arts and the sciences. The university brought in more than €65m of research income last year, evidence of the cutting edge at which many of the academics operate.
“It is also pivotal to the regional economy, rooted in its community and playing an active role at all levels. Its students are encouraged to volunteer and be part of that community and not just come to Galway as educational tourists. When Galway is the European Capital of Culture in 2020, the university will be at its heart; the newly-opened O’Donoghue Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance a bold statement of the importance of the arts to the university.”