The curriculum requirements for all full-time Ph.D. students include completion of ten cumulative points, and then, during the following semester, presentation and defense of an original research proposal. This is intended to provide experience in obtaining, organizing and presenting scientific data, the sort of experience required for creating research projects and in applying for research positions or financial support either as a researcher or postdoctoral.
This exercise centers around a prospective research project that has not yet been done. It should propose specific experimental or theoretical routes and methods, with references and with enough historical background for the faculty reviewers to understand the goal and its importance. It should not be directly related to your own thesis project.
Questions frequently asked are: "How close to my own research can it be? How close is too close?" Ultimately, this is a matter of judgment, and you have to do the best you can. However, when you start getting specific ideas, you can certainly consult your own research advisor, the Graduate Program Coordinator or other faculty in the program for an opinion. One possible criterion is the following: If you can imagine your own research supervisor coming to you in a week or a month or a year and suggesting this as something you should be doing as a part or an extension of your present thesis research, then it probably is too close.