Frequently Asked Questions

If you still can't find an answer to your question, drop us an email at hello@conceptionx.org

At what stage of my PhD should I apply?
Conception X places no restriction on this, but your supervisor needs to be informed (there will be a checkbox in the application form) and your academic work should not be jeopardised as a result of you joining our programme.
Can I apply if I don't have a business idea yet?
If you don't have a specific idea but have a strong technical profile and an interest in entrepreneurship, you should still apply. Our programme is divided in two tracks: Startup X and Project X. The latter was designed for those still in the idea stage, with an interest in entrepreneurship and looking to gain access to industry partners.
Is there a different application process for Project X and Startup X?
No, for now we only have one application process and we assess internally whether you are ready to join Project X or Startup X.
Do I need to join with a team or can I be a sole founder?
Many students join as sole founders and build their team along the way, as their ideas become more mature and their network grows as part of the Conception X experience.
Can more than one student be involved in one startup?
Yes, as long as the startup is relevant to at least one of the students' theses.
Can I apply if I have already formed a company?
Yes, if you are at an early stage of formation, you can still apply to Conception X.
Can I apply if I have already raised investment?
You are still eligible to apply if you have taken a very small amount of investment or have been awarded a grant. We deal with these situations on a case-by-case basis so feel free to get in touch.
Can I apply from any university?
Yes, you can apply from any university within the UK, and you must be registered as a PhD student at the time of application.
When do applications open?
Applications open in November each year.
Why should I apply to join Conception X instead of other programmes?
The success and personal development of student founders are at the heart of our mission, and we have already helped more than 250 PhD students launch a startup. Find out more about all the benefits we offer here.
If I’m accepted into the programme, can I automatically take part in the final Demo Day?
You will be evaluated on your progress throughout the programme and – if shortlisted – you will have the opportunity to present to investors and industry experts on Demo Day.
How does the programme fit around my PhD?
Conception X was designed to run alongside your postgraduate studies and doesn't interfere with your university commitments. Since early 2020, our programme has been run remotely. If accepted, you will be able to join all sessions online, without having to commute to London. We may organise a few in-person events, but this will depend on government restrictions and guidance.
What level of commitment is expected?
The programme is spread across nine months, with approximately eight training sessions, monthly coaching sessions and one or two  events per month on average. You should be prepared to commit 15-20 days for the duration of the programme, and manage your time between your PhD and Conception X. We estimated that it takes an extra 4.5 hours per week – on top of your existing PhD commitments – to complete the Project X track successfully.
How does the shareholding work?
When a startup is formed, founders decide how the majority of shareholding will be distributed, based on their contribution and ongoing commitment. Should the team receive investment, the founding team, guided by a coach, would negotiate equity with the investor on commercial terms. In situations where the student’s supervisor or a university staff member are heavily involved in the project, the university might have a claim to the IP, and subsequently own part of the startup. This will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Who owns the intellectual property?
This depends, in part, on the policy that the university has in place. For example, at UCL students own their IP and the college makes no claim on any work you may have developed as part of regular student activity. In some cases, if you have been sponsored by a ‎commercial group, or if you are part of a joint IP development team, then you may need to clarify the IP responsibilities with the team or the sponsor. We can offer some confidential advise on this if you are uncertain and we can suggest ways you may seek clarification too.