I am not sure about the "faster" part, but if you could come up with a way to represent XC perfectly, you would definitely get a Nobel Prize. Basically, this means that you can accurately incorporate the "quantum part" into the energy of the system. In turn, this allows you to accurately describe the properties of a system.
Coming up with ways to handle exchange-correlation is certainly a research area, I'm just not sure how "hot" it is or who does it. It would be very math and programming intensive, if you like that sort of thing. You would also need to thoroughly test your method on a "good" set of systems, but it would certainly be a fairly solid project for a Ph.D student.