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Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)

Service User Research Enterprise (SURE)

Room at Bottom

The Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) undertakes research that examines mental health services from the perspectives of those that use them, explores empirically and conceptually the impact of service user involvement in research (in terms of both process and outcomes), and critically interrogates how service users have changed knowledge production globally.

The unit was founded by Professor Til Wykes, and followed from her research which championed service user involvement in all aspects of research. The unit was launched in its current form in 2001 following a local conference that identified service user involvement in all aspects of research as the top priority of service users. SURE is established on the premise that the research priorities and perspectives of service users are different from those of people who work in mental health services, and from those of people with a solely academic background. Our aim is therefore to involve service users in a collaborative way in the whole research process: from design to data collection, through to data analysis and dissemination of results, and also to situate this theoretically.

Internationally, SURE is the largest unit within a university to be predominantly composed of people who have both research skills and first-hand experience of mental health services and treatments. We carry out service-user-led studies as well as collaborations with academics in all aspects of mental health research. We also play a part in developing service user researchers through graduate training and opportunities to learn new research skills. For academics wanting to involve service users in their own projects we provide specific advice on issues such as good practice.

SURE is led by two co-directors:

  • Professor Diana Rose - the world’s first Professor of User-Led Research and a social scientist and mental health service user who pioneered user-focused research.
  • Professor Til Wykes, a Professor of Clinical Psychology and Rehabilitation, who heads the Centre for Recovery in Severe Psychosis (CRiSP) in the Department of Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience. CRiSP has a tradition of involving service users in its research and laid the foundations for the launch of SURE.

Our work on consumer perspectives on ECT influenced current NICE guidelines, and in 2011-12 Professor Diana Rose co-chaired the NICE Guidelines on the Service User Experience in Adult Mental Health Services. Professor Til Wykes also leads the Patient and Carer Involvement Theme in the NIHR Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre ( Today we continue to contribute a breadth of experience, understanding and alternative perspectives to the local, national and international research we carry out.

Image: Maureen Scott, Room at the Bottom, Bethlem Gallery.


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