Diana Rose is a social scientist and has been a mental health service user all her adult life. After researching in the sociology of language and then teaching social psychology, anthropology and women’s studies, her first academic career was ended by the intolerability of her distress – both to her and her employer. For ten years she ‘lived in the community, using or refusing mental health services, but also becoming involved in user / survivor movement and finally working in small organisation for disabled people. Much to her surprise, she was offered a position in a national NGO where her stigmatised identity was an asset rather than a liability. In 2001 she moved to the then Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London and somehow has ended up the world’s first Professor of User-Led Research. She is currently researching the history, impacts and current configurations of user-led research internationally.