Key to the needs of the users is the provision of a flexible, responsive facility able to address a broad array of science programmes. The laser community has long experience of adapting its facilities for new users and new research areas. Lessons from facility operators and scientific users were pulled together in the conceptual design of HiPER to obtain a balance between the fusion energy mission and the wider science remit. The science programmes were selected for their compelling nature in terms of delivering an extreme science capability to Europe. The HiPER facility specification was then developed to provide an internationally leading capability in these areas. The scope included:

Opacity and photoionization physics
To address many outstanding fundamental atomic physics questions, along with their application to (for example) solar modelling.
Warm Dense Matter studies
Addressing the principal outstanding regime of material science in which there is no accepted theory (for which HiPER will offer exceptional probing and diagnostic capability).
Laboratory Astrophysics
Consistent with the fusion and high energy-density potential of HiPER, there is a wealth of astrophysical phenomena whose models could be tested in the laboratory, including supernovae evolution, proto-stellar jets, planetary nebulae, interacting binary systems, cosmic ray seeding and acceleration, and gamma-ray bursters.
Extreme Matter studies
What are the fundamental properties of matter in extreme states? This includes studies in Gigagauss magnetic fields (otherwise only found in highly compact stellar objects, and in which the magnetic field dominates the electric field in determining sub-atomic motion), in Gigabar pressure regimes, in radiatively dominated systems, in burning plasmas, etc.
How do compressible, nonlinear flows transition to turbulence and subsequently evolve? This is one of the few remaining fundamental uncertainties in classical physics.
Laser-plasma interaction physics
Including the question of how waves and matter interact under highly nonlinear conditions
Production and interaction of relativistic particle beams
For example, whether macroscopic amounts of relativistic matter can be created (then studied and utilised)
Fundamental physics at the strong field limit

Full details are provided in the Conceptual Design Report