Our nine-month venture programme turns PhD students into venture scientists

What makes
Conception X unique?

Runs alongside PhD
Designed for STEM PhD founders
Multiple sectors and technologies
Accepts PhDs at the idea stage
Tech-for-good angle
Zero equity

We help PhD students launch deeptech startups based on their research, connect with industry experts and become eligible for innovation grants, awards and venture capital funding.

How Conception X works

Our programme is mostly virtual, with some events in London, and designed to fit the intensive research schedules of PhD students. It lasts 9 months, March-November.

Cohort 7 launches in March 2024. Apply by 4 February to be considered.

We offer the following:

One-to-one business
and technology
to expert network (industry, investors, academia)
Show & Tells
and community
Plus: Demo Day
for selected

Note: Our three-year partnership with XTX Ventures supports 6-12 new companies per cohort,
with a typical cheque size of £100,000.

Two-track approach

Startup X

For PhD students ready to build startups. More one-to-one support given and commitment required.

Project X

For PhD students interested in developing their business skills through training designed for STEM researchers.

Who can apply?

To be eligible for the Conception X programme, students must:

Step One
Be registered as PhD candidates at a university at the time of application
Step Two
Be working on an innovative technology based on their research
Step Three
Be able to commit to the full length of the programme

What our alumni say

There are so many tools that Conception X has equipped me with that have been instrumental in getting us this far. After sitting at a desk for so long, as it’s often the case with PhD research, Conception X has given me the springboard to get out into the world and talk to people.

Zeke Steer, Milbotix

The approach and progress of my PhD has been significantly improved on the back of some of the things I have learnt at Conception X. Being exposed to the difference between purely problem-based thinking (i.e. academia) and more value-based thinking has been an eye opener and has led me to change the way I implement my research.

Zak Shabka, NP-Deep
Applications are still open for PhD students from the Northern Deeptech Hub (Newcastle, Durham, Northumbria, Teesside Universities) and the University of Manchester. Deadline 24 February 2023.