ACADEMICS from the University of Edinburgh will travel to India to take part in a series of events across the country to forge new research and teaching links.

More than 40 experts in the areas of medicine, science and the humanities will present a series of public lectures and academic conferences this month in areas such as Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai.

The group, the biggest ever delegation the University has sent, will cover diverse topics including animal welfare, clean energy and genetics to highlight the University as a partner of choice for Indian researchers and students.

The University hopes to aid efforts to improve animal and human health across the sub-continent, particularly in rural areas, and highlight Edinburgh's expertise in low-carbon innovation as well as gene technology to help to tackle disease.

The University will also facilitate discussions on the role of women in education in India.

Professor Sir Timothy O'Shea, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh, said: "As India's population and economy grow, so too does the demand for world-class education.

"Our aim at Edinburgh, through visits like this, is to build and strengthen partnerships which will reinforce our position as the partner of choice in the Indian knowledge economy."

A key conference, called Nation Building in India, will take place in Kolkata and will examine the role of government in relations between India and the UK.

It will also explore the role of women and migrant workers in the Indian economy and assess how treatment for Malaria is evolving in Asia.

Professor Suranjan Das, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calcutta, which is hosting the conference, said: "Calcutta University, being one of the oldest Universities in India, has a long cherished tradition of academic collaboration with Universities in the UK.

"I'm confident that the upcoming conference, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh, will create further opportunities to enhance academic co-operation between educational institutions in the UK and those in West Bengal and the Eastern India region."

The University of Edinburgh has a long-standing connection with India, with its first Indian student graduating in 1876. This year its scholarship funding for Indian students will rise to almost £100,000.