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Celebrating a Decade of Createc: An interview with Ben Chaudhri

This June we celebrated 10 years of Createc. To mark our anniversary, we invited 32West to interview some members of our team to hear their stories. This article shines a light on Ben Chaudhri, now CEO of Createc Robotics...

When he was at a loose end during a break from university Ben Chaudhri walked around his local business park and knocked on the door of Createc to see if they had any opportunities.

Five years later, he’s the CEO of Createc’s latest spin-out; Createc Robotics.

If you think Ben’s name rings a bell, you’d be right. He was on the famous Wolfson College Cambridge University Challenge finalist team of 2017 captained by Eric Monkman. Ben graduated from Cambridge last year with a Masters in Engineering, and joined Createc full-time in September.

He’s had plenty of experience with the company during his time as an undergraduate. That first knock on the door at Createc’s offices at Cockermouth in Cumbria led him to work there for six months. He was recovering from a spinal operation at the time and wanted “something to do, something science and technology-related but there weren’t many places I could think of which might offer that sort of opportunity,” said Ben.

He landed on his feet at Createc, That’s exactly what they do. Createc creates technologies which solve some of the world’s most challenging problems. They are behind some of the world’s most advanced nuclear and sensing technologies. With two Queen’s Awards to their name - the team is motivated by, and focused on, using their scientific and engineering skills to have a positive impact on society, both locally and globally. It’s an ideal fit for Ben.

After his initial spell at Createc, the following summer Createc funded Ben on a laboratory-based research placement at Cambridge. Ben was enjoying the type of work Createc are involved in. “Createc are strong on fundamental science. But they are also strong in translating theoretical research into getting things done in reality. Instead of research which could just gather dust in some academic journal, it’s about making sure that research is applied to solving problems in the real world and is actually helping people. Being part of that is exciting. I like to be doing things which make a difference” said Ben.

In 2017 and 2018 Ben helped Createc set up its Oxford office and worked on Createc’s Elephants to Ants robotics technology concept for software to enable non-experts to operate, deploy, and reconfigure robotics systems which could be used for nuclear decommissioning and other industrial operations. The Elephants to Ants concept won £1.5m funding to develop it as part of the UK government’s Integrated Innovation in Nuclear Decommissioning (IIND) competition. The project culminated in September 2019 with a successful multi-robot system demonstration held at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) RACE facility at Culham in Oxfordshire. 

In February 2020 Ben was appointed CEO of Createc’s new Oxford-based spin-out Createc Robotics which aims to commercialise Iris, Createc’s robotics technology developed through its Elephants to Ants programme. Ben is passionate about the ethos and values of Createc, as well as what the company achieves. “I like the white heat of new technology. But also the people are all really great to work with. It’s a small company punching above its weight, doing really innovative work.”

Now Ben is looking forward to the next chapter, he will be leading Createc Robotics into a bright new future.

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