this paper concerns user involvement in mental health research. It begins with a description of the mental health service user movement as this is where user research originally had its roots. Starting from the early days of user involvement in research, the paper then goes on to describe the evolution of a service user involvement project in research in London. Although the user movement itself is certainly not confined to the UK, involvement in research is much more developed in England than elsewhere in Europe. The paper will describe new methodologies devised by the Service User Research Enterprise (SURE) at the Institute of Psychiatry in London and give some examples of these. I will then widen out the argument to consider what facilitates and what hinders collaborative research between users and professionals. Some of this part of the discussion will draw upon my own personal experiences of being a service user researcher working in an established psychiatric research university.