The Health Foundation has launched a new Efficiency Research Programme, which will make £800,000 available for research to look at ways to improve efficiency and value for money in health and social care. The programme comes at a time when the Health Foundation has increased its capacity and interest in economics, with the recruitment of Anita Charlesworth to the post of Chief Economist earlier on this year.

Researchers can submit research proposals to explore new approaches to support transformational change in health and health and social care in the UK. There are four key priority areas for this programme:

  • allocative efficiency: achieving a more cost-effective mix of services within health and social care to maximise the health of the UK.
  • aligning incentives: generating the greatest pull to improve efficiency and value for money.
  • technology and workforce: optimising the role of technology and the workforce to improve efficiency.
  • diffusion of best practice: optimising the spread and diffusion of efficient practice in health and social care services.

The funding opportunity is likely to be of interest to research teams in health economics, business and management, and operational research to explore some of the most powerful ways that health and social care services can address the challenge of increasing value and providing more for less. Proposals for projects can be for between £250,000 and £500,000, and the research should be completed within five years.

Professor Nick Barber, Director of Research at the Health Foundation, comments: 'Our aim for this programme is to support innovative projects; ones that generate new knowledge to help the health and social care system become sustainable in the longer-term. We look forward to receiving research ideas in under researched areas such as primary care, community and mental health, as well as research that takes a patient pathway or local health economy perspective. In time the outputs from the programme should provide powerful lessons and examples about how to improve efficiency and value for money in health and social care services in the UK.'

The closing date for applications is 12 noon, Monday 20 October 2014.

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