In essence, HIAF is a next-generation storage-ring based heavy-ion research facility. It builds upon the expertise and achievements of the Heavy-ion Research Facility in Lanzhou (HIRFL), an nationaluser facility operated at the Institute of Modern Physics. Over a half century, HIRFL has been playing a leading role to develop heavy-ion accelerator technology and promote heavy-ion physics and application in China. Since 2008, the Cooler Storage Ring of HIRFL, one of the two existing storage rings dedicated to radioactive ion beam physics in the world, has been conducting precision measurements on rare isotopes, elevating our researches to new levels. In order to look beyond HIRFL’s discovery potentials, HIAF is envisioned to employ advanced accelerator technology needed for producing unprecedented heavy-ion beam intensity. The foundation of the design of HIAF is to couple superconducting linear acceleratorwith high-energy synchrotron to produce very intense various stable and radioactive beams with energies from MeV/u to GeV/u.