Trauma-induced coagulopathy (TIC) includes heterogeneous coagulopathic syndromes with different underlying causes, and treatment is challenged by limited diagnostic tests to discriminate between these entities in the acute setting. We provide an overview of progress in understanding the mechanisms of TIC and the context for several of the hypotheses that will be tested in ‘TACTIC’. Although connected to ongoing clinical trials in trauma, TACTIC itself has no intent to conduct clinical trials. We do anticipate that ‘early translation’ of promising results will occur. Functions anticipated at this early translational level include: (i) basic science groundwork for future therapeutic candidates; (ii) development of acute coagulopathy scoring systems; (iii) coagulation factor composition-based computational analysis; (iv) characterization of novel analytes including tissue factor, polyphosphates, histones, meizothrombin and α-thrombin–antithrombin complexes, factor XIa, platelet and endothelial markers of activation, signatures of protein C activation and fibrinolysis markers; and (v) assessment of viscoelastic tests and new point-of-care methods.