Indian student's dream becomes a reality

Caezaan Keshvani, 17, from Mumbai, India, has secured a place to study Biomedical Science at the University of Sheffield, after winning a reality TV show in his home country. Caezaan beat off fierce competition in the Airtel Scholar Hunt: Destination UK to be offered the three-year undergraduate place at the University, a prize worth more than £55,000 in total.

The programme, which was backed by the British High Commission in India and the British Council, was devised by India's leading television broadcaster New Delhi Television (NDTV) and sponsored by Airtel, the largest GSM mobile service operator in India.

Caezaan, who is the first member of his family to go to university in the UK, faced a series of challenges in the programme's five competition stages, including a subject exam, an interview, and competitive tasks to test his skills and aptitude.

The interviews explored the candidates' motivation to study Biomedical Science and their reasons for wanting to study in Sheffield. Caezaan then faced three rounds of quiz questions, the final one taking place inside a glass chamber, under the direct eye of the camera and with a time limit of one minute to answer four questions, one being a mathematical calculation.

Caezaan and the three other finalists then undertook a task to work out how the brain might locate the source of a sound. This involved tough critical thinking, experimental design and data analysis.

He said: "The University of Sheffield is one of the premier universities in the UK for Biomedical Science and I was very keen to study here. I had already received an unconditional offer from the University but due to financial difficulties I was unable to confirm my offer.

"However this scholarship has made my dream of studying at Sheffield come true and I can't wait to start making it a reality."

Professor Matthew Holley, Head of the Department of Biomedical Science, said: "Caezaan emerged as the triumphant winner in what turned out to be an exceptionally close final.

"His charm, creativity and stunning knowledge marked Caezaan as a natural and thoroughly deserving winner of the competition. The sheer emotion on the faces of Caezaan and his family when he was declared the winner was extremely moving. I am hopeful that Sheffield can rise to the expectation and provide an exciting educational journey for him."

Peter Fleming, Pro-Vice Chancellor for External Relations at the University of Sheffield, added: "The University of Sheffield recognises the importance of India and its emerging economy. The country has a wealth of well-educated students that we are keen to attract to Sheffield.

"The Airtel Scholar Hunt has provided the University with an opportunity to raise its profile in India and is part of a wider initiative to develop collaborative links with organisations such as the Indian Institutes of Technology.

"We look forward to welcoming Caezaan to Sheffield and wish him the very best in his studies."

Caezaan will be arriving in Sheffield in September when he will start his degree in Biomedical Science.

Notes for Editors: NDTV is a network with three 24 hour channels. This show has been aired on their English News and Current affairs channel NDTV 24X7. The show ends in November 2007, having followed the winners to their respective universities.

The scholarship will cover fees and living expenses and will be worth around £55,000 over three years.

For further information please contact: Lindsey Bird, Media Relations Officer on 0114 2225338 or email l.bird@sheffield.ac.uk