Universitas 21 Ranking
This ranking, first run in 2012, ranks individual countries in relation to their higher education systems.
“Research authors at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, University of Melbourne, looked at the most recent data from 48 countries and territories across 20 different measures. The measures are grouped under four headings: resources (investment by government and private sector), output (research and its impact, as well as the production of an educated workforce which meets labour market needs), connectivity (international networks and collaboration which protects a system against insularity) and environment (government policy and regulation, diversity and participation opportunities). It also takes population size into account and produces some interesting results.” More here.
In 2012, Ireland was ranked 16th overall. The underlying measures were 12th for Resources, 22nd for Environment, 11th for Connectivity, and 17th for Output.
In 2013, Ireland fell slightly, to 18th overall. There were some methodological changes from the previous year. The underlying measures were 12th for Resources, 24th for Environment, 22nd for Connectivity, and 19th for Output. The full report is here.