TWO Irish universities have been named among the top 100 universities less than 50 years old.

NUI Maynooth is the highest placed at 74, in the UK-based Times Higher Education (THE) 100 Under 50, although down 10 places since last year.

Meanwhile, Dublin City University (DCU) has moved up two places to 84th position.

Last week, DCU was listed in 40th place in another university international league table, the QS World Top 50.

The rankings rate universities according to a range of criteria including research income, reputation for teaching, number of Phds awarded and the number and quality of scholarly papers.

It helps to identify countries challenging the US and UK as new education powerhouses.

While Europe dominates the top 10, Asian institutions are showing great potential to challenge Western dominance.

South Korea’s Postech heads the list for the second consecutive year, while fellow Korean institution KAIST moves up to third.

NUI Maynooth president Professor Philip Nolan said while it was important not to place too much emphasis on such rankings, as they were largely subjective and failed to capture the full value of a university’s work, it did underline that the achievements of the university continue to be internationally recognised.

DCU president Professor Brian MacCraith said the university’s improvement in two rankings highlighted its upward trajectory as an innovative educational force.