Efficiency Research Programme

A programme involving research into ideas on the new ways of thinking that generate new knowledge, with a focus on labour productivity and workforce retention within health and social care


This programme is closed for applications.

  • The Efficiency Research Programme offered £1.8 million to innovative research ideas into issues of efficiency and sustainability that have the potential to make a transformational difference to health and social care provision in the UK.
  • Up to £500,000 was awarded to three experienced research teams for projects completed over three to five years.

The programme aimed to research ideas on the new ways of thinking that generate new knowledge, with a focus on labour productivity and workforce retention within health and social care. 


There were two key priority areas for this programme:

  1. Advance understanding of labour productivity in health and social care to bring about financial sustainability: exploring how innovative research can generate a more nuanced understanding of workforce productivity.
  2. Advance understanding of workforce retention in health and social care to bring about workforce sustainability: exploring the causality of enhanced retention on performance and patient care outcomes.


Each round of the programme had a specific focus.

The latest round of this programme focused on innovative research programmes that explore labour productivity and/or workforce retention in health and social care in a non-hospital setting (ie primary care and social care).

Projects primarily focused on generating new knowledge in secondary care, although some had an 'out of hospital care' focus.

Allocative efficiency in end-of-life care

Research project

This project will look at whether improvements in the efficiency of health and social care delivery at the end of life could enable access to higher-quality and more personalised care for patients.

WORKTECC: Workforce Operations that Realise Knowledge-based Transformational Efficiency gains in Community Care

Research project

This round two Efficiency Research project will explore whether workforce operations used by other industries can improve the efficiency of home-based NHS care, and if so, how.

Efficiency, cost and quality of mental health care provision

Research project

This project will look at the efficiency, cost and quality of current mental health care provision, and how changes can be made to drive efficiency improvements.

Health care technology diffusion in the NHS and workforce impact

Research project

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) team will investigate the effect that new health care technologies have on the NHS workforce. The overall aim of the project is to support ef...

Network and competition effects in the diffusion of innovation in the NHS

Research project

​The Imperial College London project will use a multidisciplinary research approach to explore the factors that influence the take-up of innovative cancer treatments in hospitals. The team will invest...

Allocative efficiency of health spending on older people

Research project

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) research team will investigate how public money is allocated across health and social care services for older people with different types of needs, and the effec...

Impact of key GP characteristics on unscheduled secondary care use and patient outcomes

Research project

The Frontier Economics project will examine whether GPs who are involved in training, commissioning and other initiatives achieve better outcomes for patients with long-term conditions, and contribute...

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