Innovation & Enterprise


Entrepreneurship training for doctoral students

Gain entrepreneurial skills and explore ways of using your research to develop a career outside of traditional academic pathways with the SPERO programme.

This series of workshops will help you think like an entrepreneur and develop skills such as:

  • spotting opportunities (how can you best impact the world around you?)
  • maximising resources (how should you use your knowledge, time and money effectively?)
  • generating ideas (how do you grow a project from idea to fruition?)
  • personal effectiveness (how to persuade others of your vision)
  • communication and collaboration (how to effectively work with others online)

You'll also learn the fundamentals of how to establish a business startup or social enterprise.

Who it’s for

The SPERO programme is aimed at doctoral students from any discipline with little or no business experience.

What to expect

These workshops are currently being run online through Microsoft Teams, which you can download for free. Find out more about Teams and how to install it on UCL’s Teams SharePoint site.

The main workshop content is delivered in a webinar style format with verbal and text-chat interaction encouraged. There'll also be breakout sessions, where you'll work in small groups to complete tasks and activities assigned by the trainer.

You'll receive joining instructions, a pre-workshop survey and essential information approximately 24 hours before the start of the workshop.

The programme

The programme is divided into three steps:

  1. Discover is an introductory one-day workshop 
  2. Applied is a two-day intermediate-level workshop
  3. Advanced is a two-day advanced workshop focused on starting a business

You can attend all three or just sign up for the one most appropriate to you. 

You'll receive training points through the Doctoral School for completing each workshop.

SPERO 1 Discover: Entrepreneurial skills for doctoral students

This one-day workshop will help you develop your entrepreneurial thinking and start to recognise and use your entrepreneurial skills.

By the end of the workshop you’ll be better able to develop ideas that create value and make a difference to others. You’ll also be able to identify stakeholders who can help you move an idea forward and set goals to progress your enterprising activity.

You'll receive two training points when you complete this workshop.


If you'd like to discuss arranging a SPERO Discover workshop for doctoral students in your faculty/department or for other general enquiries, please contact Ruth Weir at ruth.weir@ucl.ac.uk

SPERO 2 Applied: Entrepreneurship essentials for doctoral students

This two-day workshop delves deeper into business language and entrepreneurial thinking.

You’ll learn about key concepts for early-stage enterprise creation, including ideation, prototyping, testing, building networks, sales, marketing and raising finance. 

You'll receive four training points when you complete both days of this workshop.


SPERO 3 Advanced: Advanced entrepreneurship skills for doctoral students

This two-day workshop is for doctoral students who are considering starting a business but are unsure how to get started.

This workshop will help you significantly improve your business knowledge and the professional skills needed to start a business.

Day one focuses on company administration and financial planning for intellectual property (IP)-rich startups. Day two explores how to have conversations with investors, suppliers and other stakeholders through role-play exercises.

You'll receive four training points when you complete both days of this workshop.


UCL Summer innovation challenge for doctoral students

This six-week programme will help you turn your ideas into an entrepreneurial reality. You'll develop the first iteration of your product/service and conduct market research with your target customers. You'll be supported by project manager who you'll meet with on a regular basis. You can apply as a team or individual.


The SPERO programme is part funded by the Engineering and Physical Research Council's (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration Account 2020-21 and delivered in partnership with the Doctoral Skills Development Team. 

Meet our entrepreneurs

Vishal Kumar, founder of Photogram.ai

  • Vishal Kumar, founder of Photogram.ai
    Studying MRes Spatial Data Science and Visualisation at UCL
  • Attended SPERO Applied and Advanced 
  • Won a place on the Entrepreneur First programme and founded Photogram.ai
  • Joined the UCL Hatchery startup incubator at BaseKX
  • Became a member of the NVIDIA Inception Program for AI startups

Read Vishal's story >

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UCL Innovation & Enterprise reserves the right to make changes to the programme, location and/or speakers without prior notice. Such alterations are occasionally necessary due to circumstances beyond our control.