Innovation & Enterprise


Entrepreneurship training for doctoral students and early career researchers (SPERO)

Grow your entrepreneurial mindset to benefit your current research and future career with the SPERO programme.

This free programme for doctoral students and early career researchers will help you develop your entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and mindset.

Whether your future career lies in academia, working for a large-scale organisation or running your own business, the SPERO programme can help prepare you.

Who it’s for

The SPERO programme is for doctoral students and early career researchers from any discipline with little or no business experience.

It’s open to:

  • MRes students
  • doctoral students
  • post-doctoral researchers
  • early career researcher staff members (within 6 years of graduating from doctoral studies)

What you’ll learn

By developing your entrepreneurial mindset, you’ll be better able to:

  • take calculated risks to impact and add value to society
  • use your knowledge, time and money effectively to reach your goals
  • create innovative solutions to grow a project from idea to fruition
  • learn from your experiences and reflect on failures to drive growth
  • communicate your vision to a wide range of audiences

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

The programme

The programme is divided into three steps:

We recommend you complete all three stages in order.

To attend SPERO 3 you must have completed SPERO 2.

You'll receive UCL DocSkills training points through Inkpath on completion of each stage.

SPERO 1: Develop your entrepreneurial knowledge, skills and mindset

This one-day online workshop is for doctoral students and early career researchers who want to learn more about the benefits of thinking entrepreneurially.

You’ll learn the fundamentals of creating a novel startup while working on hypothetical case studies in groups. You’ll also learn how having an entrepreneurial mindset can benefit how you approach your current research and future career. 

Find out more and book for:

SPERO 2: Learn how to turn an idea into an enterprise

This four-session online 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.

This workshop will also help you develop an entrepreneurial mind-set as well as transferable skills such as collaborative working, innovative thinking, and presentation skills.

Find out more and book for:

SPERO 3: Build your enterprise - management and negotiation skills

This four-session online workshop is for doctoral students and early career researchers 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.

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

Find out more and book for:

Watch a video about the SPERO programme

Entrepreneurship Advisor Dr Ruth Weir explains how the SPERO programme helps doctoral students prepare for their future career and why researchers make excellent entrepreneurs.

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=__zJnkRetqc&list=PLkjB0VcEl5P9yPj9tljiU1...

    Case study

    Students sitting around a table at a workshop at BaseKX
    UCL’s entrepreneurship training gives boost to doctoral student’s research and career

    UCL’s dedicated entrepreneurship programme for doctoral students (SPERO) helped Isobel Pagendam develop an academic research project, undertake an internship and plan future ventures.

    You might also be interested in:

    The SPERO programme is part funded by the Engineering and Physical Research Council's (EPSRC) Impact Acceleration Account 2021-22 and delivered in partnership with the Doctoral Skills Development Team. 

    Read our privacy notice to understand how UCL Innovation & Enterprise will deal with your personal data.

    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.