Settlements in coastal lowlands are vulnerable to risks associated with climate change and extreme weather events. Sea level rise and higher intensity storm events increase the risk of shoreline erosion, low land flooding and ecological disruption. The quantities and characteristics of affected populations have the potential to threaten economic and political stabilities of host countries. A team of international researchers from Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and the USA conducted a scoping workshop and related activities to help develop a research initiative aiming to investigate human responses to coastal hazards in low lying coastal areas. Team members hold expertise in a range of disciplines including meteorology, hydrology, geography, sociology, economic development and geospatial technologies. The overarching goal was to share knowledge among assembled experts and to listen and learn from the various topical and regional expertise encountered about the best strategies to develop a larger-scale research project. Workshop participants identified key science question, data gaps, and the need for both natural and social science collaborative approaches. Relationships with key science agencies and two universities were established. Village interviews identified riverbank erosion as a key research theme that future initiatives plan to investigate.