Apply to the CDL program

For founders developing applications of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data science and data enabling technologies.

The Artificial Intelligence Stream at Oxford focuses on innovations which are using AI to improve products, services, and business processes; innovations which are advancing the frontier of AI itself; and innovations which are fixing the problems that AI can create.

More specifically, the CDL-Oxford AI Stream will focus on the following themes:

  1. Applied AI, which addresses the application of machine learning and data science to the diversity of industries and business problems. Topics include robotics and automation, industrial AI, business analytics, anomaly detection, AI for productivity and next generation professional services (accounting, legal, insurance etc) and more.
  2. Foundational AI: Innovations that are advancing the frontier of AI and structural innovation such as neural network compression, transfer learning, and reinforcement learning among others.
  3. Security and Trust: Solving the problems that use of Artificial Intelligence can create. These problems can be addressed by startups working on cybersecurity, privacy, explainability, and algorithmic bias.

Full CDL-Oxford AI Stream thesis can be found here.

CDL startups work with these mentors to sharpen objectives, prioritize time and resources, raise capital, and engage with experts working on the frontiers of research.

The startups attend five in-person objective-setting sessions between October and June. CDL is a non-profit organization. There are no fees for participation and CDL does not take any equity. Learn more about the CDL Program.

Who Should Apply?

The Artificial Intelligence Stream is particularly suited to founders pursuing commercial opportunities using Artificial Intelligence to solve business and industry problems as well as to advance AI field. This stream is tailored towards early-stage companies (early venture or growth) or even projects (pre-incorporation); however, startups at all levels of maturity will be considered.

Example Innovation Areas

  • Natural language processing, generation, and understanding
  • Computer vision, AR and VR
  • Cybersecurity, digital trust and privacy 
  • Data analytics and compression
  • Data repositories and synthetic data
  • Digital infrastructure, accessible AI tooling 
  • Computing hardware and efficiency
  • Robotics, cobots, social robotics and mobility 
  • IoT, sensors, data-enabled industry
  • Interpretability and Explainability
  • Causal and Inference Learning; Transfer Learning; Artificial General Intelligence

The list above is not exhaustive. Contact to discuss the program and your venture with someone from the Artificial Intelligence Stream.

Our Mentors

CDL mentors include accomplished entrepreneurs, experienced operators, active angel and venture investors, world-leading scientists, engineers, and economists. Mentors meet every eight weeks in Oxford, UK to help founders set objectives over the program’s nine-month duration.

Companies accepted to the CDL Artificial Intelligence Stream benefit from accomplished entrepreneurs, distinguished University of Oxford AI scientists, experienced operators, active angel investors, and venture capitalists. These experts meet with companies periodically to evaluate their technologies, suggest improvements, and to explore formal advising engagements.

See all CDL-Oxford AI Stream mentors ▶︎

For more information or to schedule an introduction meeting with the CDL team, email

“To any founder considering to join @creativedlab – just do it, you will hardly get the chance to meet so many interesting and experienced people in your specific industry at the same time – all willing to support you in your journey!”

David Gorgan

Founder, Nostos Genomics

“I have been to more than 10 startup support programmes and CDL is the best so far, especially for deep tech.  I love the competitive but community driven mentoring that comes with it.  I think CDL is the best kept secret for deep tech.” 

Imtiaz Shams

Founder of  Flox

“I draw the parallel with CDL and how I believe a start-up should use its board of investors. Don’t think of a board meeting like a homework assignment to get through. Think about how you can use your board as a competitive advantage; What skills have they got? What do I need from them? How can they help me go faster?”

Kirsty Lloyd-Jukes

CDL-Oxford AI Mentor, Investor Relations Principal at Waymo

“Being a mentor for CDL has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I have had over the last few years as it combines the opportunity to ‘give back’ with the opportunity to meet bright young entrepreneurs who are seeking to make a difference in the world. Additionally, I learn a huge amount from my fellow mentors and technical experts, which makes the experience both challenging and fun”. 

Paul Massara

CDL-Oxford AI Mentor, Advisor to Utonomy

Applications are now open!