Digital Catapult’s flagship AI programme, Machine Intelligence Garage, is an acceleration programme that addresses the challenges today’s artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) startups face.

Designed for startups with well-defined business models and technical capability, Machine Intelligence Garage exists to support UK-based AI and ML startups to:

  • Accelerate market growth and positioning
  • Access computation power
  • Receive responsible ethical development
  • Develop new products and services
  • Increase revenue
  • Grow the team
  • Receive investment

AI for visual art and media

AI is set to drastically change the visual arts and media industries within the next 10 years. To compete in these markets computer vision startups, in particular, have high technological requirements.

This themed cohort will be tailored to supporting visual arts and media startups that are focused on content creation, production, design, consumption and diffusion with the application of AI and ML technologies.

The deadline for applications for the latest cohort is Monday 9 November. The applications are being reviewed on a continuous basis, so early application is recommended.

Why Digital Catapult and the creative industries?

Digital Catapult is a leading innovation centre for advanced digital technologies. We work across the technology stack and our work focuses on the two key sectors we know to have the most benefit and impact driven by technological adoption – manufacturing and the creative industries.

In addition to our expertise in these industries we have extensive knowledge of the arts and culture sector with industry leading programmes including CreativeXR and our recent 5G Testbed Accelerator with its own creative cohort focused on 5G adoption for the sector. Digital Catapult’s programmes for the creative industries have a proven track record of success and we are pleased to extend this opportunity for the benefit of the AI community and its leading startups. Furthermore we’re excited for what this has to offer the sector and the leading startups we will onboard to accelerate the growth and adoption of AI.

Why get involved?

Participating startups will gain access to best-in-class cloud and hosted hardware compute from the programme’s partners and collaborators, including AWS, Google Cloud and NVIDIA. Cohort members will also have an opportunity to access relevant expertise and a range of technical, ethics, business and investment support tailored to visual arts and media. Support activities include partner office hours, focused masterclasses, consultations, workshops and deep dives.

Who should apply?

The Machine Intelligence Garage programme is looking for AI-first startups addressing content creation, production, design, consumption and diffusion in the area of visual arts and media.

This encompasses startups active in the following creative sub-sectors (please note that this list is non-exhaustive):

  • Film, online streaming and television
  • Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR)
  • Video content for corporate or general education
  • Content curation and archive mining
  • Visual concept or performance art using AI
  • Content in games, movies, engineering and design

Application and use of AI

Due to the focus on visual arts and media, we expect that most startups will be using computer vision techniques to some extent. Please see below the specific AI technologies that could be used (please note that this list is non-exhaustive):

  • High performance video processing pipelines using computer vision
  • Tagging and classification of visual content using computer vision
  • Audio analysis, classification and speech transcription
  • Contextual/semantic models built on top of AI generated metadata
  • Use of generative AI (for example generative adversarial networks) to create new visual content or modify (for example upscale) existing content

What we are not looking for:

Creative industry startups that are not using AI/ML or with no immediate compute needs. The applicants need to ensure that they fit the definition of an SME as per the EU requirements. Get further guidance on the European Commission website.

The following creative industry sub-sectors are not of relevance to this themed cohort

  • Music
  • Information/news
  • Social media written orientated content applications

Application FAQs

  • Who is Machine Intelligence Garage for?

    Machine Intelligence Garage is designed for AI and ML startups and scaleups with well-defined business models and technical capability.

    To qualify for access applicants will need to meet the below eligibility criteria:

    • Have a defined product or service idea
    • Have a clear business plan
    • Have a sound technical implementation plan
    • Have the team in place
    • Be compute constrained, this would normally apply to early or very early stage startups
    • Make ethical use of algorithms and data
  • How can I apply to join the programme?

    When an open call is live complete the short registration of interest form on this website (for our planned application run times see the programme timeline).

    An email will be sent to the address indicated in the short registration of interest form with the link to the full application form. Only applications received before the closing of the open call will be reviewed and considered.

    The selection process takes place approximately every 12 weeks, therefore, if the deadline for submission is missed businesses can register to join the next cohort.

  • What information is asked for in the application form?

    In addition to contact and company information the questions within the application form address technical, business and ethical aspects of the applicant organisation and product – you might need to collaborate with other team members when completing this form. The form can be modified and saved at any time before the final submission.

  • Can I save my application to come back to later?

    Yes, the form we use for the full application process can be modified and saved at any time before the final submission date. After full submission and completion forms cannot be altered or edited.

  • Who is application data shared with?

    The application information will only be used for the purposes of the programme and its evaluation, and will only be retained for the duration of the programme, and for participants on the programme for the evaluation period (maximum five years) and otherwise to comply with legal requirements.

  • Can I apply again if my previous application was not successful?

    Yes – if you have applied before and would like to be reconsidered or have altered your offering, you can apply for one of the open calls running throughout the year.

  • How are applications selected?

    Applicants are reviewed by the Machine Intelligence Garage programme team and are assessed only on the information provided in the application. Following first screening successful candidates will be invited to a video interview and/or demo. For further information, please see the selection criteria. Please note, applications are subject to additional terms and conditions from the programme’s partners.

  • I’m not ready to apply yet – can I apply and be considered at a later date?

    Machine Intelligence Garage runs multiple open calls a year, if you’re not ready to apply at the moment please register your interest and we’ll let you know when future applications are open.

  • What are the stages applications will go through?
    1. Interested parties register to apply for the programme
    2. An email is sent with the link to the full application form – applications must be completed by the closing date to be considered
    3. All applications are judged based on the selection criteria and a shortlist created
    4. Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a video interview with the team to learn more about the company and solution
    5. Teams are selected to join and onboarded to the programme
  • What is the selection criteria used for applications?

    Applicants for Machine Intelligence Garage will be selected using the below criteria as well as partner terms and conditions.

    1. Business plan: The applicant has a well defined and viable product or service
    2. Early stage: Applicant company is an early or very early stage company
    3. Ethics: The company has assessed the ethical impacts of your solution
    4. Tech plan: A clear level of technical expertise, team and an implementation plan
    5. Data ready: The team has demonstrated the necessary data at hand ready to be used
    6. Immediate need: There is an immediate need to access computation power and artificial intelligence expertise

    Initial assessment is based solely on the information provided in the application. Considerations will also be given to the stage of development at which your company is, how the company intends to make use of data, data ethics, and potential impact of participation in the programme.

Register your interest now

Register to join this cohort here.

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