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I am applying to a UK PhD Computer science/bioinformtics program that requires submitting a research proposal. When I check the requirements for research proposals from different universities.

The consensus is that, the proposal will be assessed based on

1) knowledge about the research area 
2) the ability to build and develop solutions for a problem
3) proof of critical thinking 

Some universities recommend (not enforce) standard structure for research proposals. For example, University of Manchester recommends having background, review, methods, and outcomes sections, like

Background
  Background -1
  Background -2
Research question
  Aim-1
  Aim-2
Methods:
  Method-1
  Method-2
Outcomes:
  Outcome-1
  Outcome-2

I find this structure hard to adopt. For me, it would be much easier and natural to structure based on each research sub-aim:

Overall Background
Research question
Aim 1:
   background
   methods
   expected outcomes
Aim 2: 
   background
   methods
   outcomes
Aim 3:
... ...
Summary

I wonder

  1. is formating and structure a mandatory thing?
  2. will my own structure work?
  3. I find it hard to put all background and methods in one place. To me it makes more sense to link the method to the corresponding background. Is it because I haven't build a nice connection across different research aims or it's totally okay?
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  • Expectations may vary depending on discipline. Could you give some indication of the area? e.g. lab sciences, social sciences, history/literature, mathematics/CS...
    – Yemon Choi
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 17:24
  • 1
    @YemonChoi It's bioinformatics and computer science.
    – FewKey
    Commented Feb 16, 2022 at 20:08

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