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Efficiency Squared and the Blueprint Challenge


Our Idea

About 7 months ago I was discussing optimisation issues and efficiency challenges with my friend, James Coates. He then told me of specific processes in his labs that could very easily be improved saving time and resources resulting in James and I co-founding Efficiency Squared Ltd. With the goal of developing a product for lab teams, a few months later I approached Ben Molony who helped design a CAD model for our first product. This was our first step which enabled us to apply for grant funding from Durham University to develop prototypes. The feedback we got from lab teams on the prototypes was hugely positive and that was the birth of Efficiency Squared’s first product. We have recently applied for the blueprint challenge to gain valuable first stage funding which will help cover our overheads for bringing our first product to market.

Our company aims to improve productivity in science through optimisation and innovation. Previously, I worked with a bespoke retail start-up in Shanghai, which gave me a vast range of experiences in sales, management, and e-commerce. This experience sparked a drive and interest in entrepreneurship with a view to run my own business in the future.

James is the co-founder of Efficiency Squared and has nearly a decade of experience in medical research. Previously, he received honours from McGill University and the University of Oxford for such work. Next year, James will become a Fellow at Harvard where he will continue to pursue cancer research in academia. Outside the lab, James is the Assistant Dean of St Hugh’s College (Oxford) and a serial science entrepreneur.

Ben is a recent MEng graduate in Engineering at Durham University and has worked on projects ranging from sustainable retrofittable infrastructure for Peruvian housing to the design of a microsatellite carbon detection fleet. He has a strong sense for functional design and a talent for CAD.


How do we cooperate and synergise together as a team you may ask? Our process is as follows: James identifies an issue within labs and takes this problem to Ben who looks into developing a solution. I’m then tasked with building the business case for a solution and the strategy for implementing it.  For example, we’ve found that laboratory-based researchers carry out several outdated manual processes every day, usually by hand – this is where we come in. We investigate the methods and develop solutions to streamline such processes.

As of right now, we have finalised R&D for our first product. In addition, I have been in negotiations with an overseas manufacturer and we are well on our way to streamlining our operations. At the same time, we are seeking further mentorship and investment from key players in our sector.




William Bowen

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