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    ACEI Excellence Award Win for M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project

    10 April 2018

    ACEI Excellence Award Win for M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project

    The M8/M73/M74 Motorway Improvements Project in Scotland has won the ACEI Design Excellence Award 2018 for Overseas Projects (Large). The award was presented at the ACEI Awards Dinner in Dublin on Friday last.

    ACEI President Tony Horan with Joint Winners of the Overseas Award – William McGrath, Eamon Cox & Willie Madden (RPS). (Image: Chris Bellew, Fennell Photography)

    This £500 million project upgrades the core of Scotland’s motorway network. By improving connection times between Glasgow and Edinburgh, it will boost Scotland’s economy, as well as reducing emissions and improving road safety. The project comprises a new three-lane motorway between Baillieston and Newhouse to complete the M8, upgrades to the M73 and M74, and the upgrading of one of Scotland’s busiest junctions – the Raith Interchange.

    RPS staff celebrate award success at ACEI Awards 2018: Mark Condron, John Shalloe, Eamon Cox, Tim Patterson, Michael Noonan & Gerry Carty

    RPS acted as the contractor’s designer (to Ferrovial-Lagan) on behalf of Transport Scotland for this major DBFO project. RPS undertook detailed design of highways, bridges, other highway structures, geotechnical and lighting. Our design team faced a unique engineering challenge at Raith Interchange, which required upgrading within a very confined footprint, under live traffic conditions with over 100,000 vehicle movements per day. We designed a new elevated free-flow rotary above the existing roundabout and an underpass beneath it – all in a flood plain, adjacent to an area of environmental sensitivity, coupled with massive artesian pressures and variable ground conditions. As parts of the project are located within a flood plain, detailed drainage design included a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS), with ponds designed to cater for the 1 in 100-year storm plus climate change.

    RPS also pioneered the use of building information modelling (BIM) technology on this project, achieving the first largescale implementation of Level 2 BIM on an infrastructural project in Ireland or the UK.

    “This design team of civil, structural and traffic management engineers, hydrogeologists and environmental scientists have worked collaboratively to achieve the optimum solution on this complex project – for the client, the local communities and the environment.” said Christy O’ Sullivan, RPS Project Manager.

    The M8 / M73 / M74 project was completed on time and within budget. Some key project figures include:

    25KM of carriageway built and upgraded

    418,000 trees and shrubs re-planted

    16KM of footways/cycleways

    43 new structures

    95% of on-site materials were recycled

    Contact:
    Christy O'Sullivan
    E: christy.osullivan@rpsgroup.com

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    Three Awards in Three Weeks for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    27 March 2018

    Three Awards in Three Weeks for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    Following recent success at the HR Leadership & Management Awards, the GMIT / RPS collaborative approach to Building Information Modelling (BIM) Education received another two awards last week.

    On Wednesday, GMIT / RPS won the Disciplinary Excellence in Learning, Teaching and Assessment Award (DELTA Award) in the Engineering / Construction category for using a collaborative academic-industry reciprocal learning framework to establish GMIT as an international leader in Building Information Modelling (BIM) education and campus management.

    On Friday night, GMIT / RPS were awarded the Third Level Course – Postgraduate, Special Purpose or Distance Learning Award at the Irish Construction Excellence Awards (ICE Awards).

    Speaking after the ICE Awards, Mark Costello, RPS Director of BIM said “These awards are further recognition of the collaborative approach taken by RPS and GMIT in developing the Level 8 Higher Education Programme in BIM. BIM is now an integral part of the RPS design process for the delivery of large building and infrastructural projects. Our innovative approach to education and training is facilitating Irish design team participation and leadership in major infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe.”

    Karol Friel (Topcon) presents Third Level Course Award to Gerard Nicholson GMIT, Jim O’Connor GMIT, Willie Madden and Mark Costello (both RPS). Image: ICE Awards / Conor McCabe Photography

    ICE Awards

    The Irish Construction Excellence Awards (ICE Awards) recognise performance excellence in Ireland’s construction industry, highlighting achievements across a full range of construction disciplines and project categories. The winners were announced at a gala event in Dublin on Friday night and presented by Anna Geary, broadcaster and GAA star.

    DELTA Award Winners (l – r): Andrew Forde NUI Galway, Gerard MacMichael GMIT, Jim O’Connor GMIT, Mary Rogers GMIT, Gerard Nicholson GMIT, Mark Costello RPS, Prof. Sarah Moore National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning. Image: DELTA / T&L

    DELTA AWARD in Engineering / Construction

    The inaugural DELTA awards were organised by the National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and highlighting project teams that have had an outstanding impact on teaching and learning in higher education. Only 18 out of 48 expressions of interest were shortlisted from Phase 1 (June 2017) by an international review panel. Entries were then judged across the five key criteria of Excellence, Exceptionality, Impact, Communication and Authenticity to the Discipline. The awards were presented by the Minister for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D. to projects that demonstrated outstanding commitment to enriching teaching and learning in their disciplines and preparing graduates for the working world.

    Since 2013, over 80 RPS staff have been upskilled on this programme which has allowed RPS to remain at the forefront of our industry.

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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    Excellence in Education & Training Award for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    12 March 2018

    Excellence in Education & Training Award for GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM

    The GMIT / RPS Higher Diploma in Engineering in BIM was awarded the Excellence in Education and Training Award at the HR Leadership & Management Awards 2018 in Dublin on Thursday night.

    This award is in recognition of the collaborative academia industry approach taken by RPS and GMIT in developing the Level 8 Higher Education Programme in Building Information Modelling.

    Shirley Comerford, Head of Strategic Human Resources, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) presents Excellence in Education & Training Award to Mark Costello, Gerry Carty (both RPS) & Mary Rogers (GMIT)

    In response to key changes within the construction industry, RPS recognised the need for a significant step change in our approach to Building Information Modelling (BIM). This applied across the board in all our business sectors.

    BIM is now an integral part of the design process for the delivery of large building and infrastructural projects in RPS. Since 2013, over 80 RPS staff have been upskilled on this programme which has allowed us to remain at the forefront of our industry. This innovative approach to education and training is facilitating Irish design team participation and leadership in major infrastructure projects in the UK and Europe.

    Launched in 2015, the HR Leadership & Management Awards are vital to promote HR, as they allow innovation and achievement to shine. Other winners on the night included Google, Lidl, Beaumont Hospital, Dalata Hotel Group and Bank of Ireland.

    HR Leadership & Management Awards 2018 Winners (Images: HR Leadership & Management Awards)

    Contact:
    Mark Costello
    E: mark.costello@rpsgroup.com

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    RPS Engineers Interviewed in Engineers Journal

    08 March 2018

    RPS Engineers Interviewed in Engineers Journal

    As part of Engineers Week 2018, three RPS engineers were interviewed by Ireland’s Engineers Journal on their reasons for choosing engineering as a career, what excites them about being an engineer and the challenges facing future engineers. The full article can be viewed here, but it is summarised below.

    The path to engineering

    Speaking about when she started to think of becoming an engineer, Louise Campion, Project Engineer in our Dublin office, noted that creativity and curiosity are at the core of how she perceives the world around her and perhaps she has always been an engineer at heart. “However, it was in secondary school that I took the first formal steps towards engineering. While the subject itself was not offered at the secondary school I attended, I chose science and art for my Leaving Certificate subjects, believing that engineering is a combination of these two schools of thought (and I wasn’t wrong!)” she added.

    Kieran Garvey, Associate in our Galway office explained how he was influenced by seeing infrastructure development around him in Ennis, Co. Clare in the early 1990s: “Watching these projects progress and seeing how they changed the built environment around the town really was a major influence on my decision to choose civil engineering.”

    Alison Delahunty, Project Engineer in our Cork office explains that she was unaware of engineering until she was 17. She attended an all-girls secondary school where the focus for third level education was on nursing and teaching. Given her enthusiasm for maths, physics and geography and her interest in architecture and impressive structures outside of the classroom, a brief chat with an external career guidance counsellor set her on the path to engineering. Alison noted however, that choosing engineering “was a risky decision at the time due to the decimation of the construction industry in Ireland. However, I was certain it was a solid career choice and I was comforted by the fact that a qualification in engineering travels well and is a pathway into many other disciplines.”

    Engineering – different from initial expectations?

    Asked about how his career has differed from his initial expectations, Kieran talked about his early career with RPS working in landfill and waste management infrastructure which he had never envisaged. “I really enjoyed it, however. So much of the early learning was ‘on the job’, which was hugely refreshing. Like most projects in civil engineering, it relied on the integration of various disciplines: geotechnical, drainage, roads, environmental management and so on – affording me good exposure to these fields.”

    Alison had not foreseen how the title of your engineering degree does not limit you to that one aspect of engineering, “the basics of problem solving stand to you across many fields within the industry. For example, having initially qualified as a civil and environmental engineer in 2012, I have since been involved in utilities design, flood risk assessments, temporary works design, structural design, geotechnical design and health and safety.”

    Louise talked about the variety of work and diverse stakeholder networks and all the other skills required of an engineer delivering projects that impact local communities as well as contributing to national or international strategy. “Engineering has diverse applications and the success of projects relies on multifaceted teams and collaborative input. As a professional in this field, I am not just an engineer – I am a planner, a designer, a scientist, a social entrepreneur and an advocate for environmental sustainability”, she concluded.

    Most interesting aspects of engineering?

    Asked about the most interesting aspects of engineering, our engineers talked about the variety of work, collaboration with project teams to deliver projects from concept to construction and the continually evolving sector. Alison noted how engineering provides new challenges every day, “you’re presented with a problem and you use your knowledge and common sense to produce a solution that is safe, functional and aesthetic.”

    The next five years

    When questioned on the exciting aspects of engineering over the next five years, all our engineers talked about advancements in technology. Kieran referred to BIM and the opportunity to develop new skillsets to plan, design, visualise and construct our projects more efficiently. Alison looks forward to the development of geotechnical engineering in Ireland as the industry realises the benefits of targeted ground investigation in informing the design process. Louise mentions the move towards a smarter, more sustainable and resilient future. “I see these challenges to include mitigating and adapting to climate change, ensuring energy security from indigenous resources, and the transition to a technology-driven economy which decouples GHG emissions from economic growth”, she added.

    Would you recommend a career in engineering?

    When asked this important question for many young people during Engineers Week 2018, our three engineers were 100% positive in their responses.

    “Whether you love to crunch numbers or are more interested in contributing from a strategic level, engineering is so diverse, offering excellent opportunities for a career … If you are curious about the world around you and how you can shape its future, then engineering is for you.” Louise Campion

    “Engineering, in all its forms, helps the world to function, from transport to energy to water and the digital economy. It offers a wealth of opportunities. Also, it is a well-respected degree and will stand to you if you decide to pursue a career outside of the engineering spectrum.” Alison Delahunty

    “An engineering qualification will present you with opportunities in areas that you may never have considered. Talk to as many qualified engineers as you can across different disciplines to get a feel for what we do. Don’t get hung up thinking about how the economy may be performing by the time you qualify – these are all just cycles that no one can really predict. So if you’re keen on engineering, go for it.” Kieran Garvey

    Engineers Week celebrates the world of engineering in Ireland. The week-long festival is an annual event coordinated by Engineers Ireland STEPS programme and funded under Science Foundation Ireland’s Discover Programme Call. Engineers Week 2018 (24th February – 2nd March) aimed to inspire young people to explore engineering as a career and highlight the diverse opportunities available.

    There is no doubt that budding engineers will have been inspired and enthused by the positive stories of these three RPS engineers.

    Contact:
    Kieran Garvey
    E: kieran.garvey@rpsgroup.com

    Louise Campion
    E: louise.campion@rpsgroup.com

    Alison Delahunty
    E: alison.delahunty@rpsgroup.com

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    ICE Presidential Visit to Dublin

    23 February 2018

    ICE Presidential Visit to Dublin

    Last week, Professor Lord Mair, President of the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE) in the UK visited Ireland and was hosted by RPS’ Cormac Bradley, Chairman of the Republic of Ireland Branch of the ICE.

    ICE ROI Chairman Cormac Bradley (RPS) is presented with commemorative medal by ICE President Professor Lord Robert Mair
    Future Engineer, Ayo Sokale at the Dublin Waste to Energy Facility at Poolbeg
    To mark the 200th year of the ICE, this year’s Presidential Visit to Ireland extended over three days. It involved a full itinerary of lectures, project visits and the presentation of Lord Mair’s Presidential Address in Engineers Ireland. Lord Mair was accompanied by Ms Ayo Sokale, a young graduate engineer who was selected as one of eight Future Leaders who accompany the ICE President on his visits to the regions and countries where ICE engineers are working.

    Given the historic significance of the visit, the focus was on celebrating engineering in Ireland over the last 200 years. Four heritage themed lectures were scheduled for the visit. Michael Phillips, former Dublin City Engineer, presented on Engineering in Ireland in the 19th century covering the development of railways, canals, harbours, buildings and bridges. Rob Goodbody, an historic buildings consultant and writer presented on Dun Laoghaire Harbour which celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2017. Deirdre McParland, Senior Archivist with the ESB gave a lecture on the Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Scheme which transformed the Irish economy of the time. Finally, author and publisher, Fergus Mulligan presented on the life and times of one of the giants of Irish engineering – William Dargan. One of the infrastructure assets that we enjoy today, nearly 1300km of railway line was originally laid by Dargan who had close to 50,000 people working for him in the 1840s.

    The itinerary included site visits to the new Dublin Airport Fuel Farm project and the Dublin Waste to Energy project at Poolbeg, where a presentation was given by RPS’ PJ Rudden on the evolution of waste policy in Ireland. The group received a tour of the facility where 1800 tonnes of waste are processed daily. This project was planned and procured by RPS as consultants to Dublin City Council.

    To celebrate the ICE bicentenary during the ICE President’s visit, Lord Mair presented a number of commemorative medals – reproductions of the medal struck in the 1840’s to celebrate the completion of the first tunnel under water, the Thames Tunnel by famous UK Engineer Brunel. Medals were presented to Cormac Bradley, as well as Michael Phillips and PJ Rudden, both ICE Fellows and former Presidents of Engineers Ireland.

    The key event of the visit was President Professor Lord Robert Mair’s Presidential Address, tailored to his Irish audience and his visit over the previous two days. The address was titled “Transforming Infrastructure, Transforming Lives – Building on 200 years” and noted that while we need to celebrate the engineer of the past, we also need to redefine the future of society with smart infrastructure. The engineer of the future has a multitude of challenges. The next generation of civil engineers can transform lives the way the engineers of the past did.

    Contact:
    Cormac Bradley
    E: cormac.bradley@rpsgroup.com

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    ISO 27001 Accreditation for RPS Ireland

    11 January 2018

    ISO 27001 Accreditation for RPS Ireland

    RPS Ireland has received ISO 27001 accreditation from the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI).

    RPS IT Director Connie Wiseman

    The ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management System provides requirements for establishing, implementing, maintaining and continually improving an information security management system (ISMS). Our Irish offices have worked through the planning and implementation of the system over the past 18 months. The NSAI undertook a two-stage audit of the four ROI offices in late 2017 and recommended RPS Ireland for accreditation.

    ISO 27001 can provide a basis for evidence of compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will apply across all EU Member States and has significant implications for businesses operating within the EU market.

    Connie Wiseman, RPS IT Director said “This is a huge achievement and the culmination of many months of work for the IT team here in Ireland and staff throughout the offices. The timing is great and puts us in a strong position as we approach the GDPR deadline of 25th May 2018.”

    Key to implementing the new system is communicating to staff that every RPS employee is responsible for information security. The process has involved changing habits in relation to information security, from locking workstations when stepping away from the desk, to locking laptops away at the end of the day. A clean desk policy has been implemented across all offices to protect sensitive information and personal identifiable information (PII) in line with GDPR. It has required changes to our project filing system and numerous new privacy and security controls. Project managers and teams follow new procedures to ensure the security needs and expectations of all the stakeholders on their projects are considered and all PII is protected.

    Information security and protection of personal data is a top priority for our public and private sector clients as the GDPR deadline approaches. Achieving ISO27001 accreditation is confirmation that we can deliver and manage their projects securely.

    Contact:
    Connie Wiseman
    E: connie.wiseman@rpsgroup.com

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    UCD Students Awarded RPS Innovation Prizes

    22 December 2017

    UCD Students Awarded RPS Innovation Prizes

    A group of UCD Engineering students were recently awarded RPS Innovation Prizes based on design assignments in Civil Engineering.

    The assignments nominated by RPS sought to introduce first year students, mentored by 4th and 5th year Masters students, to the relevance of civil engineering to national infrastructural development.

    The three nominated assignments were on traffic congestion in urban areas, flooding and renewable energy projects. Students were asked to address specific issues by examining the nature of the challenges, offering alternative solutions, identification of preferred options and a communications strategy on the need for the required infrastructure.

    The assignment was part of the ‘Design by Innovation’ module taken by all first year students in Engineering. It was judged jointly by the Principal for Teaching and Learning, Associate Professor Amanda Gibney and the Design Innovation Lecturer Keith Finglas. Prizes were also awarded to the best Masters students who mentored the students during their 3-week assignment in November 2017.

    The assignments will also assist in attracting more students to 2nd year civil engineering and its relevance to growing a sustainable economy in terms of transport, energy and water infrastructure.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

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    Construction Commences on Donabate Distributor Road

    15 December 2017

    Construction Commences on Donabate Distributor Road

    Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy TD turned the sod on the Donabate Distributor Road project this week. He was joined by Fingal County Council Chief Executive, Paul Reid and Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Mary McCamley. This is the first Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) project under the Rebuilding Ireland programme to reach the construction stage.

    This new 4km road is a crucial piece of infrastructure for Fingal County Council and is a key element in its response to deal with the current housing crisis. The €20m project opens up new land for the development of thousands of homes by creating a vital alternative crossing of the railway line.

    L – R: Michael Noonan, Transportation Director RPS; PJ Rudden, Director RPS; Paul Reid, Chief Executive Fingal County Council; Cllr. Mary McCamley, Mayor of Fingal; Eoghan Murphy TD, Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government; and Tom O’Connor, Managing Director MEIC Contractors.

    As well as creating better access to Donabate and Portrane and alleviating traffic congestion in the village, it will also improve access to the strategically important National Forensic Mental Hospital in Portrane when this national facility becomes operational in two years’ time. The Distributor Road will lead to the provision of 1,200 housing units by 2021 with an anticipated potential build of 2,200 units being provided in the long-term.

    The Donabate Distributor Road is scheduled to take 18 months to complete. RPS is Client Representative to Fingal County Council, providing planning, design services as well as contract and construction supervision.

    The €20 million project is co-funded under LIHAF by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (75%) and Fingal County Council (25%). MEIC is the appointed contractor.

    The Donabate Distributor Road is part of the Donabate Local Area Plan 2016-2022 which is designed to deliver social and physical infrastructure to the area in order to create sustainable communities. As well as a phased delivery of a wide range of house types and sizes there are also plans for the development of commercial and recreational facilities including the Donabate Recreation Hub, the Broadmeadow Greenway and the Corballis Nature Park.

    Speaking at the turning of the sod, Paul Reid, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council said: “This is the first of three LIHAF schemes which we have received approval for and when finished they will facilitate the construction of 6,900 new homes in Donabate, Swords and Baldoyle by the public and private sector. The Distributor Road is a key strategic aim of the Donabate Local Area Plan which provides for the future sustainable growth of the town through the implementation of three phases of development across land parcels located to the north, south, east and west of the existing town centre.”

    Contact:
    Michael Noonan
    E: michael.noonan@rpsgroup.com

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    SGN NIC Robotics Project Scoops Two UK Business Awards

    24 November 2017

    SGN NIC Robotics Project Scoops Two UK Business Awards

    The UK Business Awards were held on 22nd November at Wembley Stadium. It was a hugely successful evening for our client SGN and their NIC Robotics Innovation Project, which was awarded both the Utilities Award and the Innovation B2C Award.

    RPS provided the technical services consultancy to SGN and ULC Robotics, to support this industry-leading innovation project developing robotic platforms and solutions for the gas utility industry.

    The SGN Robotics team including Colin Osborne, SGN Engineering Policy Manager (second from left), Richard Mason, SGN Innovation Project Manager (third from right) and PJ Rudden, RPS Director (far right)

    The project pioneered the deployment of sensor technology inspection and repair robots in live gas distribution mains that had never been attempted before. It involved the design, manufacture and field testing of the new robots, which were successfully tested in live gas mains in London in November 2015.

    The innovative technology measures wall thickness, stress and strain in pipelines and will allow gas utilities to extend the life of cast iron pipeline infrastructure. Its use will allow pipeline inspection and joint repair operations to take place with minimal disruption to customers, with fewer traffic restrictions, lower road reinstatement costs and no supply restrictions for gas customers. The project was previously awarded the Engineers Ireland Excellence Award for Innovation in 2016.

    Richard Mason SGN Project Manager being presented with Award on Innovation (B2C) at UK Business Awards in Wembley Stadium

    The UK Business Awards are designed to recognise and celebrate exceptional business performance. Awards were presented across a wide range of categories including Financial Services, Retail, Utilities, Business Change or Transformation, Customer Centric Organisation, Disruptive Business Model, Innovation, Inspirational Leader and Best Place to Work.

    Contact:
    PJ Rudden
    E: pj.rudden@rpsgroup.com

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    Two RPS Speakers at GIS Ireland 2017 Conference

    23 November 2017

    Two RPS Speakers at GIS Ireland 2017 Conference

    GIS Ireland 2017, the annual conference for GIS professionals organised by IRLOGI (Irish Organisation for Geo-Information) was held last week in Dublin.

    Having been postponed from its original date in October due to Storm Ophelia, the theme of climate change seemed particularly fitting, as climate change is believed to have contributed to that category 3 hurricane.

    The conference brought together industry-elite speakers to evaluate and discuss GI application and trends, challenges and opportunities. The conference also provides an opportunity for knowledge sharing and networking within the GI sector in Ireland and UK.

    Saeed Khan & Justin McGurk speak at the GIS Ireland 2017 Conference

    Two RPS GIS Specialists presented at the conference this year. Our GIS Manager, Saeed Khan provided an overview of CPD for GIS professionals, outlining the various pathways towards achieving accreditation. In 2016, Saeed himself was awarded Chartered Geographer (CGeog) status (there are currently only 650 CGeogs worldwide) and was appointed a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London.

    Justin McGurk, Senior GIS Specialist presented on ‘Land Parcels for Compulsory Purchase Orders’ and his work on the M28 Cork to Ringaskiddy project. He described the innovative process for generating accurate CPO land parcels for the motorway project using open source software. He discussed automation, validation and the technologies utilised to generate the required CPO parcels and schedules.

    Contact:
    Saeed Khan
    E: saeed.khan@rpsgroup.com

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