North London Service User Research Forum (SURF)

Group type: 4. Free-standing organisation

Contact details

Named contact: Ms Ros Brown (SURF Administrator) or Dr Helen Killaspy

Email address:

Telephone: 020 7679 9038 (Ros Brown)


Division of Psychiatry

University College London

Charles Bell House

67-73 Riding House Street



Remit of the group

The North London Service User Research Forum (SURF) was set up in 2007 to encourage a more meaningful and two-way relationship between service users and researchers. The group is co-chaired by Katherine Barrett and Professor Helen Killaspy.

The SURF has the following aims:

  • to provide service users with an understanding of the purposes and processes of research
  • to provide opportunities for service users to be employed as researchers
  • to provide a forum and reference group for researchers to discuss their research ideas with service users prior to funding applications
  • to provide a forum to discuss the best way to feed back the results of completed studies to service users.

SURF is a mental health specific group.

Frequency of meetings

The SURF meets four times a year in the Division of Psychiatry, University College London (located at Charles Bell House, 67-73 Riding House Street, London W1W 7EJ).

Who can consult the group?

Any researcher but generally, just researchers from the Division of Psychiatry consult the group.




More about the group (optional)

The SURF was founded by the late Mr Scott Stevens and members of the Mental Health Sciences Unit at University College London (Dr Helen Killaspy and Professor Michael King). It originally received “pump-prime funding” from UCL, Camden PCT, Islington PCT and Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, but is now funded through research grants.

It has around 12 members living in London who have experience of mental health services and an interest in mental health services research.

Meetings include an educational component with talks from specialist speakers about various aspects of research.  There are then presentations from researchers about projects that are being developed and this part of the meeting allows discussion and consultation regarding the aspects of these projects that are particularly relevant to service users.