© 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. The FLASHForward project at DESY is a pioneering plasma-wakefield acceleration experiment that aims to produce, in a few centimetres of ionised hydrogen, beams with energy of order GeV that are of quality sufficient to be used in a free-electron laser. The plasma is created by ionising a gas in a gas cell with a multi-TW laser system. The plasma wave will be driven by high-current-density electron beams from the FLASH linear accelerator. The laser system can also be used to provide optical diagnostics of the plasma and electron beams due to the <30 fs synchronisation between the laser and the driving electron beam. The project will explore both external and internal witness-beam injection techniques. The operation parameters of the experiment are discussed, as well as the scientific programme.