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Entrepreneurship training for doctoral students (SPERO)

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

This free programme for doctoral students 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 from any discipline with little or no business experience.

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:

SPERO 1 is a one-day blended learning experience, combining live gatherings in MS Teams, self-paced work in Moodle and a 1-hour roundtable session with entrepreneurship experts.

Stages 2 and 3 of the SPERO programme are two-day workshops, run in MS Teams.

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.

Register your interest

These courses will next run in term 1 of the 21/22 academic year. Register your interest to hear when new dates are released.


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

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: Build your enterprise - management and negotiation skills

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.

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.

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    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. 

    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.