No previous research? Or do you mean, you havent done any research yet?
Because if it's the former, then I dont think it's a good idea to do a PhD on it. If it's the latter, then you should start reading. I think in about 2-3 months you shoud be able to gain enough insight in the field to be able to put together a proposal.
I completed the research for my Master's and been reading up in the area I'm interested in ever since, again the proposal is soo niche that it falls under sustainable energy, efficient buildings, micro generation & DNG and electrical engineering. To answer you question on no previous research, I thought PhD was to research new ideas and proposals?
Of course a PhD is about doing new research, but usually that means making a (small) contribution to an already-established field, not inventing an entirely new field that has never been researched before :).
However, it sounds like your proposal is actually an interdisciplinary one that draws from multiple fields? If that's the case, it's an opportunity to do some very interesting and unique research. The only problem is that with interdisciplinary projects there can be difficulty getting other people to understand or accept your work, e.g. when it comes to submitting to journals or conferences, or choosing your PhD examiners. Also, when applying for postdocs or jobs afterwards, or looking for teaching opportunities, sometimes you can end up not having enough expertise in any one field compared to other PhDs who have specialised in that one field.
You also have to be very independent when doing interdisciplinary research, as even if you have multiple supervisors, only you will be the expert in your particular intersection between the different fields. That may be a good or bad thing depending on your perspective!
A PhD is not necessarily about doing small tweaks. Dont be afraid of doing something totally new. I would however suggest that your area of interest is probably not as untrodden as you think. There may well be things others have not thoght of but its unlikely you have discovered a vast plain of totally uncharted territory. If you HAVE discovered something totally uncharted then you have the chance to do something truly great and I would absolutely encourage you to do it if its what you want.
There is another way to think about this. If you are trying to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other PhD qualified people applying for the same academic posts you will need something to help you stand out. I am not sure that playing it safe is either exciting or strategically a good move in a crowded market place.
I can only give you a feel for what I would do. I wish when I had been younger I had taken more risks. I played a lot of stuff pretty safe. I had solid challenges along the way, a good career and plenty of money but somewhere along the line the excitement disappeared. I had to start again. Now I am more motivated towards bigger risks and I feel more alive. There are huge bouts of self doubt and panic though so it is not all plain sailing.
So there you have it. Pretty much both scales of the argument have been presented. The only thing that matters is how much risk you want to take on? There are no guarantees with either of the pieces of advice you have been given.
Good luck with your decision.
Thank you for the replies. Mattfbb I've been thinking about this project for the last 2 years, I have the designs, layout, experimental testing and also ideas how to implement the technology into a wider range of buildings written on scraps of paper. @pm133, I never liked playing safe, to me if you don't push yourself above your boundaries then you don't what you can achieve. If you failed, then learn from the mistakes and move on, as they say, some of the best projects were due to mistakes Postit!
Like most of the others have noted, I'd say go for it. My PhD is in a relatively new area. At first, I thought this was going to be a challenge, but my supervisor reckons that it is a blessing in disguise, as my findings will seek to explain why the area has not been researched should.
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