The pressing questions about governance today require research on a scale, and of a complexity, that the existing institutional environment for research has great difficulty supporting. This article identifies some of the current institutional constraints on
governance research, and examines a set of institutional innovations that enable a form of ‘big governance research’ that begins to meet the information and knowledge requirements of
contemporary governance questions.
It presents the organisation and methodology of the multi-country study ‘Modes of Service Delivery, Collective Action and Social Accountability in Brazil, India, and Mexico’ (henceforth BIM, for Brazil, India and Mexico). We argue that the organisational and funding model that BIM has created permits the type of interdisciplinary, process-oriented, and multi-country or multi-region research needed to answer governance questions of international concern.