PhD Students & Researchers

PhD students and researchers at Ghent University are eligible to receive free guidance and support when starting and growing their own business. This is possible as a secondary activity next to a part-time or full-time commitment at Ghent University, as well as in preparation of launching an own venture at the time of finishing a part-time or full-time commitment at Ghent University. DO! works closely with Tech Transfer, the Ghent University department that provides counselling and support to Ghent University spin-offs.

PhD students, post-docs or researchers who wish to receive support from DO! are very welcome to book a coaching, ask for advice, take entrepreneurial elective courses or participate in programmes such as Expedition DO! and Research to Market.

Your idea: linked to your research or not

If you have an idea that is linked to your research, it’s important to verify to what degree it’s possible to further develop that idea. When your idea uses the results of your research or the technology you’re developing as part of your research, it’s up to the Tech Transfer department to decide whether and how you can continue working on your idea.

If you start a spin-off company (which means that your company’s IP is linked to Ghent University), you’re eligible to receive guidance and support from both Tech Transfer as well as DO! Both departments can help you further refine your idea, find and connect you to relevant partners or find ways to receive funding.

It’s also possible that you’re continuing to develop your idea based on the knowledge and experience you gained during your research, while there is no intellectual property from Ghent University involved. In that case, you can also receive support from DO! This is also the case when your idea has nothing to do with your research whatsoever.

Venturing as a scholar

If you’re a scholar with an entrepreneurial idea, it’s important to verify whether you’re eligible to venture based on the conditions of your scholarship. Unfortunately, certain scholarships provide directives that won’t match with those of entrepreneurship. Together with other Flemish and Walloon Universities, as well as the Federal Government, Ghent University is working towards the inclusion of entrepreneurship in doctoral scholarships.

Develop your entrepreneurial skills

During your doctoral educational program or research activities, you’re able to lay the foundation for your venture by further developing your entrepreneurial skill set. Apart from the different elective subjects you can follow at Ghent University, there are several intensive programs organized both nationally and internationally. On our Informationhub, you’ll be able to find a list of our elective subjects Ghent University employees can participate in.

If your idea is linked to your research, it’s easy to continue working on it during these programs, as well as to receive tailored feedback on your idea. If your idea has nothing to do with your research, it’s still often possible to continue working on it during these programmes. It’s important to verify this with your research promoter and the program coordinator. Even when it’s not possible to continue working on your own idea, it’s still very useful to participate in such a programme because of the skills you’ll be able to develop which you can apply to your own idea later on. If you need extra feedback, you’re always welcome to come down to our DO! offices.

You don’t have to have an idea to participate in these programmes in order to further develop the necessary skills to venture. Employees are continuously looking for researchers who not only have the in-depth knowledge within their domain, but also the knowledge and skills to commercialise research. And who knows, you might think of an amazing idea later on!