NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Case Study

About DPIE

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) was set up to serve the people of NSW, by developing smart ways to support innovative and prosperous industries, enrich their citizen’s lives and make NSW a great place to live and work. They help to provide homes and services, build great communities, create jobs and protect the environment.

The Challenge

The Environment, Energy and Science (EES) Group is part of the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. The EES Group brings together a range of functions including national park management, biodiversity and conservation, climate change, sustainability, resilience and adaptation, renewable energy and energy security, waste management and resource recovery, and environment protection and mine safety regulation. The work of the group is supported by centres of excellence in: science; policy and strategy; and data analytics and insights.

As a part of its services, EES administers a number of funding programs and initiatives as well as being the recipient of funding for specific projects.

EES manages a range of grant funding programs in excess of $120 million per year. These are a mix of competitive and non-competitive grants across various programs with the current processes being inconsistent across the different grant programs.

A number of limitations were identified in the current grant application, approval and management processes (and associated business systems) with these processes relying heavily on manual data entry and manual reporting processes. The ability to update, access and report on information was very constrained within the current business system and the extent and type of information able to be captured also limits the reporting capacity and sophistication that would be expected (i.e. spatial reporting). This presented a significant constraint in reporting on grant programs as well as day to day management of grant projects.

Furthermore, the current experience for applicants, grantees and other stakeholders was less than optimal as a result of inefficient information sharing which is done through spreadsheets, word documents and network drives. This translated into unnecessary duplication of effort by both external stakeholders and departmental staff.

The Solution

F1 Solutions proposed their OmniStar Grants platform running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and compliant with industry, state and federal standards to deliver on DPIE’s vision.

OmniStar Grants was selected as the Grants Management System for all EES’s programs facilitating the creation, processing and storage of grant applications, post-award process such as agreement and variations, milestone reporting and approvals.

Over the course of 12 months, the GMS was designed, developed and deployed in early 2019. The project included a creation of over twenty tailored reports, automation of previously manual processes, twenty SmartForms, penetration/security testing and training. Post go-live services were also provided by F1 Solutions which included an outsourced help desk service, performance reporting, product support and training.

The benefits for DPIE

Streamlined processes

The efficiency of OmniStar Grants coupled with streamlined and consistent business processes freed up significant staff resources as previous time-consuming tasks are now automated.

Improved grantee experience

The efficiencies gained in staff productivity enabled departmental staff to focus more on grantee and prospective grantee experience which brought optimum benefit to grant funding programs.

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Business process support

Communication capabilities, change audits and real-time dashboard reporting support DPIE’s business processes more effectively.

Complete compliance

More flexible and powerful system audits and granular optics ensure the organisation is fully compliant and meets its probity criteria in grant allocation and financial management. This ensures effective reporting on grant program outcomes are made available.

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

Soil CRC

Soil CRC implemented OmniStar Grants to boost performance, flexibility, adaptability and engagement.

Dept. of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy

DNRME needed an improved grants management system and set of processes to meeting the desired level of service, probity and adherence to legislation

Cancer Institute of New South Wales

CINSW selected OmniStar Grants as their innovations platform to administer and manage their research grants program.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

ARENA needed a streamlined, flexible and adaptable system to manage a wide range of grants and projects and to inform vital decisions.

Soil CRC Case Study

About Soil CRC

The Soil CRC (CRC for High Performance Soils) was established in 2017 to give farmers the knowledge and tools they need to make decisions on soil management issues.

Through its research program, the Soil CRC develops solutions to unlock the potential of Australia’s agricultural sector, delivering:

  • Mechanisms for financially rewarding management of high performance soils
  • Integrated solutions providing greater precision for farmers
  • New ways to measure soil performance
  • Innovative products to increase soil fertility and function

The Challenge

To boost performance, flexibility, adaptability and engagement, Soil CRC’s defined requirements of a new grants management system were:

  • Web-based and accessible remotely by tablet and smartphone
  • Ability to submit, assess, and manage projects online
  • Must meet Australian National Audit Office guidelines and Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines
  • Transparency, with simple, automated internal tracking mechanism
  • Flexibility and automation in form design
  • Application review, including check of applicant’s legal status
  • Central repository for all communications and documents, including letters, emails and board dockets
  • Thorough records of project requirements and evaluations
  • Payments management and milestones
  • Streamlined, customisable and automated permissions and workflow processes

The Solution

F1 Solutions proposed OmniStar Grants to meet Soil CRC’s needs.

OmniStar Grants is architected as an end-to-end Grants Management solution, consisting of three components – external portal, internal portal and CRM – that seamlessly interact to provide a highly flexible and feature rich platform for grant giving organisations.

These three capabilities around a centrally integrated solution would deliver tailored visibility and functionality to all stakeholders.

OmniStar Grants can be configured for simple or highly complex environments. It facilitates multiple approaches to manage grant development, application creation, awarding of grants and ongoing grant management and review. Within Soil CRC, this would promote standards-based procedures, increase efficiencies, enable stringent compliance and promote transparent, evidence-based decision making.

The benefits for Soil CRC

Reporting and analytics:

OmniStar Grants provides the automated business intelligence and analytics the modern organisation results.

Information transparency:

OmniStar Grants’ Project Management functionality offers researchers and administrators information visibility for effective execution and management of projects.

Flexible, role-based workflows:

People-based, as opposed to role-based, workflows fail when staff leave. OmniStar instead creates role-based workflows that allow new hires to quickly grasp their responsibilities.

Usability:

OmniStar Grants provides a solution far more user friendly than databases and spreadsheets, or other legacy, grants-management systems.

Increased user satisfaction:

Using a modern solution, on modern hardware and equipment, with a modern UX and UI creates great user engagement.

Integration:

OmniStar Grants provides simple integration with identity providers for seamless security, FMIS services to synchronise payments and document management systems.

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

Dept. of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy

DNRME needed an improved grants management system and set of processes to meeting the desired level of service, probity and adherence to legislation

Dept. of Planning, Industry & Environment

DPIE needed a contemporary grants management system to address existing limitations in their grant application, approval and management processes

Cancer Institute of New South Wales

CINSW selected OmniStar Grants as their innovations platform to administer and manage their research grants program.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

ARENA needed a streamlined, flexible and adaptable system to manage a wide range of grants and projects and to inform vital decisions.

Department of Natural Resources, Mining and Energy Case Study

About DNRME

In 2017 the Queensland Government established the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME). The department is responsible for helping the community and government make the best use of renewable and non-renewable land, water, mineral and energy resources to deliver sustainable benefits for current and future generations of Queenslanders.

The Challenge

At the establishment of DNRME, the grants management system inherited by the department was outdated. An improved system and set of processes was required to provide the desired level of service, probity and adherence to legislation. The new system would shape the way Queensland’s natural resources, mining and energy sectors were managed into the future.

Visibility within the existing system provided was inadequate, and it lacked flexibility to adapt and grow with the needs of the department. DNRME needed a system that could assist with the management of a multitude of projects, ensure consistency in processes and fund allocation, boost productivity and ensure compliance with legislative guidelines.

Funding for projects was allocated in line with the Queensland Government Natural Resources Investment Program (NRIP) 2018–2022 Program Guidelines. DNRME required absolute compliance, excellent governance and flawless oversight in the administration of NRIP grant funding.

The Solution

F1 Solutions proposed its OmniStar Grants SaaS solution and the project was split into two phases. Phase one enabled DNRME to enter their existing project data quickly and easily. Phase two developed and configured reports, processed from all stakeholders, that would help to streamline and automate many previously resource-intensive processes.

The system would offer transparency around funding, meetings, contract and other document versions, real-time project results, reporting and tracking of project milestones.

On successful completion of user acceptance testing, the system was implemented. OmniStar Grants now offers DNRME full oversight of all governance and project processes, streamlines and automates previously time-consuming tasks, creates full transparency for all stakeholders, delivers previously unimagined evaluation and reporting data, automatically tracks major milestones, and much more.

The benefits for DNRME

Enhanced communication:

OmniStar informs delivery organisations about upcoming projects whilst automating internal communications about tracking and case management. This has led to better information exchange, faster, more seamless communication and powerful stakeholder engagement.

Better reporting:

Data analytics, automated and customisable reports and powerful information functionality help to meet strict reporting responsibilities. Better reporting helps DNMRE maintain assurance around the use of grant money and its positive impact on natural assets.

Increased efficiencies:

Time saving was high on the list of requirements from DNRME. The system was built to automate and streamline numerous processes. This was critical for departmental performance.

Created with Lunacy

Better probity:

Auditors have all necessary information in real time, mitigating financial or audit level risks and serving as a backstop for, and supporting, DNRME’s financial rules and workflows. It ensures better probity and assurance, reduces risk and improves efficiencies whilst increasing transparency.

Automation:

OmniStar automated and standardised the entire business process. Staff are allocated roles and are notified when they must complete a task. This reduces the training required and empowers new staff, also reducing management supervision.

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

Soil CRC

Soil CRC implemented OmniStar Grants to boost performance, flexibility, adaptability and engagement.

Dept. of Planning, Industry & Environment

DPIE needed a contemporary grants management system to address existing limitations in their grant application, approval and management processes

Cancer Institute of New South Wales

CINSW selected OmniStar Grants as their innovations platform to administer and manage their research grants program.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

ARENA needed a streamlined, flexible and adaptable system to manage a wide range of grants and projects and to inform vital decisions.

Cancer Institute New South Wales Case Study

About CINSW

Cancer Institute NSW (CINSW) has as its vision to end cancers as we know them. The organisation partners with the health system and the community to improve cancer outcomes, working across the healthcare system to promote better cancer prevention, early detection, diagnosis, treatment and care. CINSW funds cancer research, focusing on the translation of research findings into clinical practice.

The Challenge

Each year, CINSW is responsible for the distribution of around $28 million of cancer research funding. Previously, a number of disparate systems were used to manage, capture, store and report on grants and projects. Grant management had become increasingly complex.

The systems were difficult and time-consuming for key stakeholders including researchers, organisations applying for grants, and grant evaluators.

Improvements in, and automation of, functionality such as application forms, guidelines, workflow approvals, processing capabilities and reporting were crucial.

The Solution

CINSW selected F1 Solutions’ flagship product OmniStar Grants as the system to administer and manage their research grants. OmniStar is hosted in the cloud as Software as a Service (SaaS).

All existing data was migrated to the new environment using the inbuilt data migration tool. This included over 20,000 documents and tens of thousands of records. All application forms were re-designed with SmartForm technology.

During the project, F1 Solutions also provided CINSW with strategic IT advice and consultancy services, to improve the organisation’s business processes.

The benefits for CINSW

Increased visibility

OmniStar Grants has given CINSW vision across all of its programs, offering the organisation the data it required to develop a more informed investment strategy.

Improved reporting

CINSW is better able to meet its significant reporting needs and thereby improve operational processes.

Complete compliance

More flexible and powerful system audits and granular optics ensure the organisation is fully compliant and meets its probity criteria.

Improved processes

Communication, document sharing, meeting and collaboration functionality support CINSW’s business processes more efficiently.

Improved Productivity

Tedious and time consuming tasks are now automated, resulting in greater productivity from the same number of personnel, vastly improving quality of output, and increasing staff engagement.

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

Research Ethics & Gov. Information System

The NSW Office for Health and Medical Research (OHMR) selected F1 Solutions to help implement a new ethics & governance information system, REGIS

Dept. of Planning, Industry & Environment

DPIE needed a contemporary grants management system to address existing limitations in their grant application, approval and management processes

National Health and Medical Research Council

OmniStar Ethics was a vital ingredient in the NHMRC’s system transformation for ethics application submissions.

University of Queensland

OmniStar Research enabled the University of Queensland with an enterprise-wide, integrated research management solution

NHMRC HREA Case Study

About NHMRC

NHMRC, an independent statutory agency is Australia’s leading expert body promoting the development and maintenance of public and individual health standards. With the mission Working to Build a Healthy Australia, NHMRC invests in high quality health and medical research and researchers, supports translation of medical research into clinical practice, policy and health system, and maintains a strong integrity framework for research and development guidelines.

The Challenge

The National Ethics Application Form (NEAF) at the time was widely used by researchers throughout Australia to submit ethics applications for review by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The research community had provided feedback that NEAF has numerous limitations. The form was too long and the question logic did not link with the content required, which made it complex for users to use and navigate. It also did not support non-biomedical research well and contained requirements for unnecessary information. Moreover, the output of the form was not user friendly.

The challenge for F1 Solutions was to develop, deploy and implement a range of functions and create a solution which supported highly flexible forms capability.

The Solution

F1 Solutions implemented a platform that integrates SmartForms technology (Intelledox Infinity) with OmniStar Ethics to give users a single integrated system experience replacing existing NEAF with Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) form. Client is able to make changes to the form in a controlled manner, which allows them to be responsive to their users’ needs. Version control is supported, making change management easy to control and implement.

The solution includes an admin portal and a public facing site. The admin portal allows internal administrator users to perform advanced configuration and management of the form system as well as modify and publish the HREA form. The public facing site is a portal in which external users such as researchers and external administrators can access to complete HREA form as a registered user or a guest user. OmniStar Ethics supports Application Programming Interface (APIs) that allow external research management systems to obtain HREA data programmatically and can be integrated with external systems such as ORCID, email, document management and FMIS.

The solution is hosted as Software as a Service with AWS (Amazon Web Services) for efficiency and cost savings.

The benefits for NHMRC

Streamlined processes

Disparate legacy systems have been brought together onto a single platform, meaning workflow is now significantly streamlined, preventing duplication of work and generating time efficiencies for all stakeholders

Complete compliance

More flexible and powerful system audits and granular optics ensure the organisation is fully compliant and meets its probity criteria.

Increased productivity

Reduce the amount of rework in producing many similar documents while maintaining content governance, accuracy and consistency of style

Agile communications

By implementing OmniStar Ethics, NHMRC achieved agile, automated and tailored communications, as well as secure access and confidential delivery processes

New improved form

The new form which is intuitive, easy to navigate with incorporated logic will solve existing problems associated with NEAF

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

Research Ethics & Gov. Information System

The NSW Office for Health and Medical Research (OHMR) selected F1 Solutions to help implement a new ethics & governance information system, REGIS

Dept. of Planning, Industry & Environment

DPIE needed a contemporary grants management system to address existing limitations in their grant application, approval and management processes

University of Queensland

OmniStar Research enabled the University of Queensland with an enterprise-wide, integrated research management solution

Cancer Institute of New South Wales

CINSW selected OmniStar Grants as their innovations platform to administer and manage their research grants program.

University of Queensland Case Study

About UQ

UQ’s vision for 2018 – 2021 is to achieve knowledge leadership through research enhancements. The university has implemented a Research Management Business Transformation Program including improvement of visibility, collaboration, security, transparency and access. Measurement of impact and engagement is an essential. 

 

UQ’s strategic plan for research excellence included:

  • Acquiring, maintaining, and utlising research infrastructure
  • Encouraging internal collaboration between researchers from different disciplines and organisational units
  • Pursuing international collaborations in research and education
  • Facilitiating researchers to partner with industry, governement, and the community 
  • Investing in systems and processes that benefit researchers

 To achieve these powerful objectives, UQ required a purpose-built research management system.

The Challenge

UQ’s research management solution was outdated. It provided no link between pre- and post-award, and no online access to data outside the Research Management Office. The lack of authoritative location for all information relating to research projects resulted in time wastage, multiple bespoke local systems to deal with deficiencies and poor visbility of post-award activity and compliance. 

The challenge was to design a solution that addressed:

  • Increased efficiency of research-related administrative processes
  • Substaintial staff resource capacity savings and enhanced staff experience
  • Enhanced information visibility and connectivity 
  • Increased agility to accomodate changing operational requirements
  • Enahnced abilities for analysis, monitoring and governance of research
  • Improved management of risk and research compliance 
  • Enhanced client satisfaction and ongoing partnerships
  • Enhanced interactions with external partners through better access to research data

 

The Solution

F1 Solutions proposed OmniStar Research, an enterprise-grade Research Management System, to meet UQ’s objectives. The solution, which came to be known as MyResearch, facilitated the effective, streamlined and transparent administration of research projects, including research administration management, and compliance management. The solution also supported integration with core UQ systems and enabled a holistic view of research project management, administration and compliance across the research lifecycle at UQ.

MyResearch enables individual researchers and research administrators to have direct access to key research project information, facilitating research administration and compliance management. It also supports enhanced project financial management with interfaces to UQ systems that control these elements.

The benefits for UQ

Real time information

Upgraded research management software and functionality, providing researchers real-time, online project information and control of research administration.

Streamline processes

Streamlined online application and electronic approval processes for key research administration tasks and functions.

Enhanced connectivity

Enhanced connectivity and integration of research management functions across the research lifecycle, including ethics, funding, data management and publication.

Complete compliance

Enhanced capabilities for analysis, monitoring and governance of research.

Increased efficiency

Increased efficiency in project operationalisation and accuracy. Enhanced client satisfaction and ongoing partnerships.

Increased agility

Increased agility to accommodate changing operational requirements. Reduction in enquiry demand around setup, funding and administration.

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

Research Ethics & Gov. Information System

The NSW Office for Health and Medical Research (OHMR) selected F1 Solutions to help implement a new ethics & governance information system, REGIS

National Health and Medical Research Council

OmniStar Ethics was a vital ingredient in the NHMRC’s system transformation for ethics application submissions.

Cancer Institute of New South Wales

CINSW selected OmniStar Grants as their innovations platform to administer and manage their research grants program.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

ARENA needed a streamlined, flexible and adaptable system to manage a wide range of grants and projects and to inform vital decisions.

Research Ethics Governance Information System Case Study

About REGIS

The Research Ethics and Governance Information System (REGIS) is the new portal to help manage ethics and site governance approvals of human research projects in NSW and ACT public health organisations and local health districts.

The Challenge

In 2012, the NSW Government undertook a strategic review of health and medical research. The review recognised the value of research in supporting innovation, improving health services and delivering better treatments and outcomes. This led to the establishment of the NSW Office for Health and Medical Research (OHMR), in which recommendations for human research ethics and governance reform were adopted. One was for an information system to streamline ethics approval and site assessment processes associated with human ethics. The goal was to attract more research projects to NSW.

The tender process, designed to objectively assess what was in the marketplace, was also an opportunity to identify a best-fit solution to deliver on these critical recommendations. F1 Solutions won this tender and commenced the challenge of implementing the new information system, known as Research Ethics and Governance Information System (REGIS).

The Solution

F1 Solutions proposed their OmniStar platform, running on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and compliant with industry, state and federal standards, to deliver OHMR’s vision. The OmniStar solution is used across Australia in universities, state and federal government bodies and government funded/not-for-profit organisations to provide research, grants and ethics management.

OmniStar powers systems such as the NHMRC’s Human Research Ethics Application (HREA). REGIS incorporates the HREA and Site-Specific Assessment (SSA) applications, in addition to other forms and processes, to support ethics and governance. REGIS transformed the ability of OHMR to implement online processes as a unified system, accessible by PHOs, LHDs and researchers alike. It facilitated the creation, processing and storage of ethics and SSA applications, post-approval and authorisation forms, progress reports, safety notifications and amendments.

REGIS was designed, developed and deployed in 2018 to over 20 LHDs. The project included a large-scale data migration activity that took information from disparate legacy systems, as well as penetration/security testing and training. Post go-live services are provided by F1 Solutions. These include a local help desk service, performance reporting, product support and training.

Currently over 20,000 users with over 30,000 applications, 40,000 projects and 110,000 documents are being managed through REGIS. The standout fact is that the system has already delivered significant benefits to the research community, reducing the average time required for site governance applications by 40%, with an average 32% time saving for an ethics application. And this is just the beginning!

The benefits for REGIS

Seamless information management

Intelligent SmartForm technology, graphical work flow and configurable structures have provided seamless information management and unprecedented levels of configurability and control, managed in-house.

Enhanced reporting

Enhanced reporting capabilities have enabled authorised users to access and communicate the wealth of information collected by REGIS through user-defined dashboards and reports.

Increased productivity

Tedious, time-consuming tasks are now automated, resulting in greater productivity from the same number of personnel, vastly improving quality of output and increasing engagement.

Streamlined processes

The integrated OmniStar solution has replaced disparate legacy systems to streamline operations and dramatically reduce duplication of activities.

Created with Lunacy

Approvals in one central location

Integration with NHMRC’s HREA has removed the need to access multiple systems to complete ethics and site governance approvals.

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

National Health and Medical Research Council

OmniStar Ethics was a vital ingredient in the NHMRC’s system transformation for ethics application submissions.

University of Queensland

OmniStar Research enabled the University of Queensland with an enterprise-wide, integrated research management solution

Cancer Institute of New South Wales

CINSW selected OmniStar Grants as their innovations platform to administer and manage their research grants program.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency

ARENA needed a streamlined, flexible and adaptable system to manage a wide range of grants and projects and to inform vital decisions.

Australian Renewable Energy Agency Case Study

About ARENA

With the objective of improving the competitiveness and supply of renewable energy technologies in Australia, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) was established in 2012. It is responsible for over $3 billion of funding of innovative renewable energy projects and identifies and troubleshoots issues arising from energy transition, providing funding to help solve such issues. Undertaking its own research that informs policy decisions, ARENA also manages committed projects from former initiatives of the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, and the Australian Solar Institute.

The Challenge

To achieve its important and timely ambitions, ARENA required a streamlined system to manage grants. That solution had to provide insights and tools to ensure compliance with the Australian National Audit Office’s principles for granting funds, removing risk from the funding governance process along the way.

The solution also had to span the entire innovation chain, supporting projects from the laboratory workbench through to commercial deployment. It would need to enable the acceleration in affordability of new technologies and build investor confidence through system efficiency, consistency of process and probity of grant application and approval, financial management and reporting.

The Solution

While exhaustive research revealed many good, grant management systems to manage specific stages of the grants process, ARENA was looking for a GMS solution to manage the whole spectrum of end-to-end grants management, when they approached F1 Solutions.

Out of the box, OmniStar Grants met many of ARENA’s requirements and where gaps were identified, OmniStar was tailored to meet specific needs.

F1 Solutions was engaged to provide a fit for purpose, fully hosted and managed grants management system that provided functionality for all of ARENA’s programs. The initial project from contract signing to go-live took six months, including security testing and training. Since then, ARENA has been able to continue to deeply customise the solution.

Hosting of the solution started on F1 Solutions in-house data centre then relocated to an external data centre and again relocated on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the platform is compliant with industry, state and federal standards. OmniStar is now the day-to-day grants management system for all of ARENA’s programs.

The benefits for ARENA

Improved visibility across programs

OmniStar Grants has given ARENA vision across all of its programs, offering the organisation the data it required to develop a more informed investment strategy. This benefits the organisational objective of improving the competitiveness and supply of renewable energy technology in Australia.

Powerful reporting

Communication capabilities, change audits and provides real-time data that is used by a dashboard reporting function to support ARENA’s business processes more efficiently.

Complete compliance

More flexible and powerful system audits and granular optics ensure the organisation is fully compliant and meets its probity criteria.

Streamlined workflows

Disparate legacy systems have been brought together onto a single platform, meaning workflow is now significantly streamlined, preventing duplication of work.

Increased productivity

Many previously time-consuming tasks are now automated, resulting in greater productivity from the same number of personnel. As ARENA’s requirements change, they are integrated wherever possible into the system

See how OmniStar has helped these great organisations

Dept. of Natural Resources, Mines & Energy

DNRME needed an improved grants management system and set of processes to meeting the desired level of service, probity and adherence to legislation

Dept. of Planning, Industry & Environment

DPIE needed a contemporary grants management system to address existing limitations in their grant application, approval and management processes

University of Queensland

OmniStar Research enabled the University of Queensland with an enterprise-wide, integrated research management solution

Cancer Institute of New South Wales

CINSW selected OmniStar Grants as their innovations platform to administer and manage their research grants program.

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