Skip to content

Digital Catapult’s AI Ethics committee adds top calibre talent to meet growing demand from startup community

Posted 21 May 2020

Digital Catapult’s AI Ethics Committee has appointed six new advisors as part of Digital Catapult’s ongoing programme to expand the benefits of its flagship artificial intelligence and machine learning accelerator programme to the UK startup community.

The Machine Intelligence Garage accelerator has continued to grow, over 80 companies now having joined the programme. Demand from startups for support from the AI Ethics Committee has significantly increased. So, Digital Catapult has expanded the AI Ethics Committee further to ensure that support is readily available to those who need it.

Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: “As we rely on digital technologies more than ever, it’s crucial that artificial intelligence and machine learning systems are designed and deployed in ethical and responsible ways. Much discussion on ethics is quite abstract, but our work in helping businesses is very practical and hands on. We’re excited to welcome new members to our AI Ethics expert group to boost the time that can be spent working with startups.”

Dame Wendy Hall, Regius Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, added: “The AI Ethics Committee is playing a significant role to embed ethical and responsible development of artificial intelligence into the fabric of the UK’s AI and ML startup community. It’s really important that, as AI becomes increasingly prevalent across all parts of the economy, we make sure to get the practical application of ethics in technology absolutely right, as well as deepening the understanding of why an ethical approach is critical to business growth.”

Digital Catapult has unique access to the UK’s early stage AI startup community, and the efforts of its Ethics Committee and Ethics Framework are focused on the practical application of ethics in artificial intelligence, away from discussion and towards implementation – from the “what” to the “how”. Through practical work including ethics consultations, deep dives and workshops to help them develop responsible AI solutions, the AI Ethics Committee works with the startups to enable them to consider the long-term implications of their solutions, and take an ethical and sustainable approach to impactful and thoughtful decision-making within their business.

The new members of the Ethics Committee are:

  • John Collins – Operations & Commercial Director at Imperial College’s national Synthetic Biology start-up facility, SynbiCITE, and Fellow at Cambridge Judge Business School.
  • Carissa Veliz – Research Fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics and the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities at the University of Oxford.
  • Peter K Wells – Most recently Director of Public Policy at the Open Data Institute where he worked on data infrastructure, digital competition, data ethics, data trusts, and other institutions.
  • Maurice Chiodo – Fellow and College Teaching Officer in mathematics at King’s College, Cambridge, and co-founder and lead investigator of the Cambridge University Ethics in Mathematics Project.
  • Rafael Calvo – Chair of Design Engineering, and the Director of Research, at the Dyson School of Design Engineering, Imperial College London (advising in an independent capacity, via Imperial Consultants), and a Co-Lead with the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence.
  • Christina Hitrova – Researcher in Digital Ethics

In addition to the new appointees to the Advisory Group, Philippa Westbury, Senior Policy Advisor at the Royal Academy of Engineering, who leads the Academy’s digital and data policy work, has joined the Ethics Committee Steering Board. For more information about Digital Catapult’s work in ethics and responsible AI, visit

Notes to editors

Digital Catapult’s AI Ethics Committee comprises a Steering Board and an Advisory Group. A full list of members is listed below; their biographies are available at

Steering Board

  • Luciano Floridi (Chair)
  • Dame Wendy Hall
  • Sir William Blair
  • Jo Twist
  • Jenni Tennisson
  • Philippa Westbury

Advisory Group

  • Shahar Avin
  • Rafael Calvo
  • Maurice Chiodo
  • John Collins
  • Josh Cowls
  • Christine Henry
  • Christina Hitrova
  • Laura James
  • Burkhard Schafer
  • Carissa Veliz
  • Peter K Wells