Quality emergency medical care is critical to reducing the burden of disease in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs) and protecting the health of populations during disasters and epidemics. However, conducting research in emergency care settings in LMIC settings entails unique methodological and operational challenges. Therefore, new approaches and strategies that address these challenges need to be developed and will require increased attention from scientists, academic institutions and the global health research funding community. Research priorities to address emergency care in LMICs have also not been well defined, resulting in limited research output from LMICs. This manuscript frames the efforts of four multidisciplinary working groups, which were established under the auspices of the Fogarty International Center as part of the Collaborative on Enhancing Emergency Care Research in LMICs and serves as an introduction to this series, which identifies challenges and solutions in the context of emergency care research in LMICs. The objective of this introductory paper is to articulate the need for emergency care research in LMICs and underscore its future promise. We present public health arguments for greater investment in emergency care research, identify barriers to develop and conduct research, and present a list of research priorities for community organizations, academic institutions and funding agencies. We conclude that advances in emergency care research will be critical to achieve national and global health targets, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to ensure that evidence informs how such research is best conducted.