SIPTU has called for a significant increase in investment in undergraduate level education in the university sector following the failure of any Irish institution to be make the top 200 of the Times Higher Education world university rankings. SIPTU Education Sector Organiser, Karl Byrne, said: “The Times Higher Education world university rankings is regarded as the most influential list of top performing third level institutions in the world. It is deeply disappointing and reputationally damaging that no Irish university has made it into the top 200 in this year’s list.” He added: “Such a failure means that Irish universities will face greater problems attempting to attract research investment and overseas students. These issues will damage the ability of the sector to perform and in the long run undermine our society and economy. Urgent action must be taken to stop the rot in our university sector.” SIPTU Public Administration and Community Division Organiser, John King, said: “The continued slide of Irish universities in global rankings harms these institutions and the prospects of those who work and study in them. “Increased Government investment is needed to revitialise our undergraduate education sector. This area has been very adversely affected by the years of austerity and must now be funded adequately.” SIPTU Education Sector Committee President, Dr. Jack McGinley, said: “As a society we must place a new emphasis on returning our universities to their rightful place among the best in the world. To this end the private sector must be encouraged to step up its funding of university sector research programmes.” “At a meeting of the SIPTU Education Sector Committee this week there was discussion of our universities falling rankings as well as the underfunding and staff shortages currently being experienced in the sector. There was also focus on the growing issue of poor staff morale and precarious employment practices.”