Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies are already transforming the global economy.

These technologies may use huge datasets to find better ways of completing complex tasks and range from simple process automation to deep machine learning.

Digital Catapult’s Machine Intelligence Garage programme is unique: it addresses the challenges today’s AI startups face, providing the tools and expertise to turn potential into reality. Over 40 AI and ML startups which demonstrated the biggest opportunity for growth and success joined Machine Intelligence Garage in its first year.

We are increasing the development and adoption of AI technologies in four ways:

  1. Providing much-needed access to compute power for small innovative businesses to train their algorithms on large data sets.
  2. Providing access to expertise and experimentation space for companies of all sizes, which helps increase understanding of the different computation resources and supporting technologies through experience.
  3. Collaborating with large businesses to speed up the adoption of AI through open innovation and acceleration programmes.
  4. Working with policymakers and academics to ensure the UK takes the lead in responsible and ethical AI applications.


top British companies poised for growth accepted in the first year of Machine Intelligence Garage.


industry partners and collaborators

I don’t think ChAI would exist without Digital Catapult. It provided the first external validation of our ideas, raised our profile and introduced us to an investor community that led directly to successfully closing our first round of funding.

Dr Tristan Fletcher

Founder and CEO, ChAI

Machine Intelligence Garage

Digital Catapult’s Machine Intelligence Garage provides startups with access to computation power and expertise to accelerate their development. For many small companies access to compute power and hardware is a major barrier to growth: this programme helps companies with a well-defined business idea and technical capability to overcome these challenges.

Giving thought to ethical and responsible development, alongside the desire for business growth, is a central consideration for any business that is developing AI or ML products or services. Shaping the technology so that it’s used appropriately and creates positive meaningful change for society will also give a competitive advantage.

Ethics Framework and Ethics Committee

Digital Catapult created an Ethics Framework specifically for small businesses. Made up of seven guiding principles, the framework is a practical guide to help startups and scaleups understand how to apply responsible and ethical concepts in practice.

It’s hard for startups and scaleups to test ethical solutions because their time and resources are limited, but they can reap the rewards more easily because they don’t have legacy infrastructure to hold them back from embedding ethical practices at the start.

To manage the practical roll out of the Ethics Framework and support startups and scaleups to embed ethical tools into their work, Digital Catapult established the Machine Intelligence Garage Ethics Committee, chaired by Luciano Floridi, Professor of Philosophy and Ethics of Information & Digital Ethics Lab Director at University of Oxford.

This group of some of the foremost minds in AI and data ethics works directly with companies that are part of the Machine Intelligence Garage overseeing the development of principles and tools to facilitate responsible AI in practice – to bridge the gap between theory and practice, between the ‘what’ of responsible AI and the ‘how’.

Machine Intelligence Garage cohort companies

Steering Board

Mentoring and advice for the Advisory Group; establishing and updating Committee principles


  • Prof Luciano Floridi
  • Dr Jo Twist
  • Dr Jeni Tennison
  • Dr Hayaatun Silem
  • Prof Dame Wendy Hall
  • Sir William Blair

Advisory group

Assessing Machine Intelligence Garage applications, practical guidance and advice for companies, maintaining Ethics Committee principles


  • Hetan Shah
  • Burkhard Schafer
  • Laura James
  • Christine Henry
  • Josh Cowls
  • Shahar Avin