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 funding 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 experienced research teams for projects completed over three to five years.
  • There have been three rounds of this programme. The latest round awarded seven projects with funding of up to £500,000 each. 


  • The Efficiency Research Programme was launched in 2014 and is now in its third round.  

  • In total, the Efficiency Research Programme has seen around £5.5 million awarded across 14 innovative research projects into issues of efficiency and sustainability that have potential to make transformational difference to health and social care provision in the UK. 


Each round of the programme has a specific focus: 

  • Efficiency Research Programme Round 1: The first round of this programme ran in 2014 and sought to fund projects focused on developing a better understanding of the likely impact of health care policy and process change on the efficiency or sustainability of health and social care. Four projects were funded within this round.  

  • Efficiency Research Programme Round 2: In 2016, three projects were awarded funding to conduct projects focusing on allocative efficiency, efficiency incentives, the role of technology to improve efficiency.  

  • Efficiency Research Programme Round 3: The latest round of this programme, launched in 2018, focused on labour productivity and/or workforce retention in non-hospital health and care settings (i.e. primary care and social care). Seven projects were funded through this round. 



NuRS and AmReS: nurse and ambulance workforce retention and safety

Research project

Two research projects exploring the underlying drivers of nursing and ambulance workforce retention in the NHS. Will use ‘big data’ techniques to analyse multiple variables and their effect on staff r...

Improving labour productivity in primary care: the role of skill mix, technology and patients

Research project

Project that is aiming to define an accurate measure of labour productivity in primary care and to identify its determinants, including workforce skill mix, technology and patient characteristics.

Retention of the clinical and ambulance workforce in English NHS hospitals

Research project

Project that will carry out research into what drives hospital workforce retention, and its changes over time and across organisations and clinical specialties, and what the causal effects of improvin...

RoMHS (Retention of Mental Health Staff)

Research project

Research project to investigate variation in, and determinants of, mental health care staff retention, with the aim of better understanding how organisational contexts and the experiences of registere...

Quantifying health workers’ retention in primary care, its variability and association with outcomes

Research project

Research project examining how retention of GPs and nurses has changed over time, and mapping its regional variability, using databases of routinely collected administrative data.

Retention and sustainability of social care workforce (RESSCW)

Research project

Project to investigate the factors influencing low staff retention in UK social care, with the aim of improving understanding of the organisational and individual drivers of care staff retention, and ...

The impact of workforce turnover and temporary staff on productivity and health outcomes in the hospital sector

Research project

Research project that will investigate the relationship between NHS staff turnover and health service efficiency, with the aim of examining the impact of staff leaving or joining on productivity and h...

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.

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