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By Professor James Smith, Vice Principal International, the University of Edinburgh

I am getting ready to fly to Delhi for what promises to be the most exciting week of being the new Vice Principal International. I have been to India several times before but never as part of such a large, diverse group of colleagues, collaborators and partners and with such an ambitious itinerary.

India is one of the most important countries for the University. Its an economic, innovation and political powerhouse and its influence is felt across the world. We cannot be an international university without placing India at the heart of our teaching, research and partnership activities. Our Centre of South Asian Studies, Edinburgh India Institute and India Liaison Office, in Mumbai, demonstrate something of our institutional commitment but they are only a small part of the story.

The main part is interaction – the sum of our partnerships and collaborations with people, networks and organisations across the country. The collaborative possibility of this human capital and the possibility of knowledge generation, innovation and impact is inspiring and signals the potential for many long term partnerships and programmes.

Our India-bound and India-based staff and students and our Indian partners encapsulate a huge diversity and depth of expertise. From the history of medicine to the future of gene technology, from Scottish politics to rising global power, from low-cost solar lamps to the most ambitious research partnerships, we hope our workshops and activities will inform, provoke and build relationships.

Me? Personally I am looking forward to visiting at least three new cities, meeting many new colleagues and institutional partners, and exploring the possibilities of an exciting, ambitious knowledge economy. But first I must pack…