Foundational STEM courses introduce disciplines and act as gateways to majors. At large research universities, these courses are taught to hundreds or even thousands of students a term. Development of such courses and research into their efficacy should be a shared endeavor, yet it often takes place only locally - one campus and one discipline at a time. This talk will describe the emergence and early progress of a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration focused on STEM introductory course R&D. The SEISMIC project has brought together 10 big public research universities to engage in parallel data analysis, coordinated experimentation, continuous exchange of speakers, and extended annual meetings. Motivated by a focus on equity and inclusion as central goals of the reform process, SEISMIC brings together hundreds of education researchers, practitioners, administrators, and support staff in a collaborative structure inspired by 'big science' research collaborations.