© Author(s) 2017. Several major fault-drilling projects have captured the interseismic and postseismic periods of earthquakes. However, near-field observations of faults immediately before and during an earthquake remain elusive due to the unpredictable nature of seismicity. The Scientific Exploration of Induced SeisMicity and Stress (SEISMS) workshop met in March 2017 to discuss the value of a drilling experiment where a fault is instrumented in advance of an earthquake induced through controlled fluid injection. The workshop participants articulated three key issues that could most effectively be addressed by such an experiment: (1) predictive understanding of the propensity for seismicity in reaction to human forcing, (2) identification of earthquake nucleation processes, and (3) constraints on the factors controlling earthquake size. A systematic review of previous injection experiments exposed important observational gaps in all of these areas. The participants discussed the instrumentation and technological needs as well as faults and tectonic areas that are feasible from both a societal and scientific standpoint.