20.109(F12): Written research proposal

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20.109(F12): Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering

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Writing a research proposal requires that you identify an interesting topic, spend lots of time learning about it, and then design some clever experiments to advance the field. It also requires that you articulate your ideas so any reader is convinced of your expertise, your creativity and the significance of your findings. With this assignment, you will have the opportunity to craft a research idea and then submit a written proposal, as if you were seeking to fund the work for the next 3 years!

Your final written research proposal must include the following sections:

  • A title page and summary - (one page) with your names, your project title, directly from your pre-proposal (or a catchier title if you've thought of one), and one paragraph of summary, expanded from your pre-proposal
  • An introduction- (one page) giving a brief statement of why the area of study is important and some description of what's been done already, end with bold face paragraph that identifies the structural hole, gap in understanding or a need that will serve as the point of departure for your research idea
  • An explanation of the research - (less than two pages) details about what you plan to do, this must include at least one figure drawn by you to represent your idea as well as a "plan B" in case early results in your initial proposal are not promising
  • A budget - (1/2 a page) to establish your expertise by showing reasonable requests
  • A bibliography - (1/2 a page) journal articles used to develop the proposal

This proposal should be no more than 5 single-spaced pages long + bibliography (and please no 8 point fonts---12 point is reasonable) and should be uploaded to the Stellar homework drop box here no later than 1PM on your M3D6 lab day.


As with the pre-proposal, your final proposal will be evaluated based on its:

    • creativity, innovation and feasability of your research idea
    • clarity of goals and objectives
    • clarity of writing and figure
    • clarity of value possibly derived from this proposed research
    • thoughtfulness of "Plan B"
    • expertise shown in budget planning
    • depth of expertise as shown in bibliography
    • format