This week’s photo of the week is Dr Samuel Nyman‘s entry of a Tai Chi class in action. This weekly series features photo entries from our annual Research Photography Competition taken by BU academics, students and professional staff, which gives a glimpse into some of the fantastic research undertaken across the BU community.
The TACIT Trial is all about people. The study is undertaken by a team of researchers led by Dr Samuel Nyman at BU who are looking into the benefits of Tai Chi for people with dementia. Qualified Tai Chi instructors, such as senior instructor Robert Joyce from Elemental Tai Chi (photographed), lead the classes. The classes are attended by people with dementia and their informal carers. The classes involve slow, gentle, fluid body movements and slow breathing that leave you feeling relaxed and yet you have exercised your core muscles. In this randomised controlled trial, we are following up for six months people who have taken part in the classes and practiced at home and are comparing them to others who have not done Tai Chi. This will provide initial evidence for the first time in the UK as to the benefits of Tai Chi for the health and well-being of people with dementia and their informal carers. This photo is taken from a workshop for Solent NHS led the the chief investigator Dr Samuel Nyman and Robert Joyce.
Image from https://ec.europa.eu/culture/news/20170606-new-study-creative-value-chains_en
As part of the government’s commitment in the Industrial Strategy. towns and cities across the country will benefit from a new £20million fund for culture, heritage and creative industries, launched by Minister of Arts, Heritage and Tourism, Michael Ellis.
Areas will be able to bid for up to £7 million for a number of projects in a certain area to help regeneration, create jobs and maximise the impact of investment. This could be for new spaces for creative businesses, bringing historic buildings back into use or redeveloping museums and art galleries.
Dr Holly Crossen-White has had a conference paper accepted for National Programmes Conference: Museums and Digital Memory Conference to be held at the British Museum in September. The paper will be presented with Dr Trudie Cole, Head of Access and Participation, The National Museum of the Royal Navy. Trudie and Holly have previously worked on several research projects related to the use of digital archives and this gives them opportunity to apply their findings within the context of collections held by the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Holly’s research interest in digital archives arose through her PhD which explored the hidden history of illicit drug taking during the early twentieth century. Holly has published on the ethical issues of undertaking research using digital archives and has been awarded Faculty Seedcorn Funding with her colleague Dr. Angela Turner-Wilson for some of this research work.
Application Deadline: Wednesday 12 September 2018 (17.00 UK Time)
The British Academy is providing mid-career to senior scholars – active in any discipline within the social sciences and the humanities and based in any country overseas – with the opportunity to work for four years in the UK and make a contribution to UK research and higher education. This new programme is supported under the UK Government’s National Productivity Investment Fund. It aims to demonstrate and further enhance the UK’s commitment to international research partnerships and collaboration as well as strengthen the UK’s research capacity and capability in the humanities and the social sciences.
Up to 10 Global Professorships each year will be offered during the course of the programme (which will run for three years in the first instance). Each award will provide funding for four years to an outstanding international researcher, not currently working in the United Kingdom, to bring their research experience to the UK. The purpose of the Global Professorships is to enable world-class scholars to further their individual research goals while strengthening the UK research base and advancing the research goals and strategies of their UK host universities. Each four-year appointment is intended to be a complete project in itself and is expected to involve a specific research focus, although the British Academy does not have a preferred model for the balance of time to be spent between research and teaching (which may vary over the course of the award and will depend on the UK host institution’s needs).
Suitable candidates for the Global Professorships include internationally-recognised mid-career to senior researchers active in any field within the social sciences or the humanities who are currently employed outside the UK. The applicant must either be in a permanent (full-time or part-time) position at their home institution overseas or have a fixed-term position for the duration of the Global Professorship. Applicants must be available to take up a long-term secondment or employment at an eligible UK university or research institution.
Value and Duration
Awards are expected to run for four years each. The British Academy will provide up to £250,000 per annum for the first three years, making a total contribution of £750,000 per award. The costs of the fourth year will be expected to be committed in full by the UK host institution. Successful applicants to the 2018 competition will be required to start their awards between 1 December 2018 and 31 May 2019.
Applications must be submitted online using the British Academy’s Grant Management System, Flexi-Grant®
UK Host Institution Approval Deadline: Thursday 13 September 2018 (17.00 UK Time)
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 7969 5220 for further information.
In the first instance if you are interested in applying for the above please get in touch with a member of the RKEO Funding Development team.
A stroll along a pier remains the most popular activity for visitors to the British seaside, with 70% of them enjoying a walk over the waves.
For many, the seaside pier is perhaps the most iconic symbol of the British seaside holiday and the epitome of excursions to the coast. Piers have always provided holidaymakers with entertainment, from the grand pavilions and theatres of the Victorian era, to the amusement arcades of the 1980s. For two centuries, piers have been the place to see and be seen at the seaside.
Victorian pleasure piers are unique to the UK, but they are under threat: in the early 20th century nearly 100 piers graced the UK coastline, but almost half of of these have now gone.
By their very nature, seaside piers are risky structures. When piers were constructed, British seaside resorts were at the height of their popularity. The Victorians wanted to demonstrate engineering prowess and their ability to master the force of the sea. Some lasted longer than others, with Aldeburgh pier in Suffolk lasting just less than a decade before it was swept away by a drifting vessel. At the other end of the spectrum is the Isle of Wight’s Ryde pier, which at over 200 years is the oldest pleasure pier in the UK.
Yet the longevity of such piers presents them with new risks: fire, maintenance issues, rising costs, and climate change. Piers face an uncertain future. The National Piers Society estimates that 20% of today’s piers are at risk of being lost.
Piers at risk
Over the last 40 years, many notable piers have succumbed to time and tide. Perhaps the most iconic of these losses is Brighton West Pier, which has suffered multiple storms and fires since closure in 1975, leaving an isolated skeleton as a haunting reminder. Now there is growing recognition that seaside piers are vital to coastal communities in terms of resort identity, heritage, employment, community pride, and tourism. In fact, the UK government now offers funding to enable the revival of piers and other seaside heritage.
Despite the sea change in the perceived importance of seaside piers, many remain derelict and in a state of decay. One such pier is Weston-Super-Mare’s Birnbeck Pier, on the west coast, which has been closed for over three decades. Birnbeck Pier is unusual in that it is the only pier which links to an island, but as time has passed, parts of the structure have crumbled into the sea. Despite the endeavours of the local community and groups such as The Birnbeck Regeneration Trust, the owner of the pier refuses to sell or regenerate the pier.
This is in stark contrast to nearby Clevedon Pier, which was deemed “the most beautiful pier in England” by the poet Sir John Betjeman. After partial collapse and subsequent closure of the pier in 1970 there were calls for its demolition. Clevedon Pier was saved and reopened in 1998, and is now the UK’s only Grade I listed seaside pier. Today it stands as a testament to The Clevedon Pier Heritage Trust who continue to develop the pier with a new visitor centre, wedding venue, and conferencing space. Recently, the pier gained a new group of fans as it featured as a backdrop to a One Direction music video.
Despite their advancing years, since the turn of the 21st century many piers have found a new lease of life. The high-profile regeneration of Hastings Pier, led by a local community trust and backed by Heritage Lottery Funding, has spearheaded the revitalisation of many seaside piers (although the pier, controversially, was recently sold to a commercial investor). Nevertheless, a number of coastal communities have successfully regenerated their piers through the formation of pier trusts, including those at Swanage and Herne Bay. Other seaside towns are being even more ambitious and hoping to rebuild their piers or to build brand new piers.
Local authorities within seaside resorts are also promoting their piers as flagship tourist attractions and investing in their refurbishment and new facilities. Southport Pier, which narrowly escaped demolition during the 1990s, is now at the heart of the resort’s development strategy and is currently undergoing a £2.9m refurbishment which includes the addition of new catering and retail facilities.
The piers that are thriving in the 21st century are those that provide a unique selling point. Bournemouth Pier now features the only pier-to-beach zip line, and its former theatre now houses adrenaline-packed activities such as climbing walls, an aerial assault course, and a vertical drop slide. In Folkestone, the Harbour Arm, which was redeveloped as a pleasure pier in 2016, provides a range of pop-up bars and restaurants and its very own champagne bar. Weston’s Grand Pier offers family fun with a modern twist and even boasts an indoor suspended go-kart track. Southwold Pier boasts a novelty automaton arcade.
By staying tuned to modern desires as well as a sense of nostalgia, piers will continue to adapt to changing tastes and provide entertainment and pleasure for seaside visitors.
But perhaps the biggest threat they face today is climate change, and the attendant rising sea levels and increasingly frequent storm surges. Cromer, Saltburn, and Blackpool North Pier have all recently been significantly damaged by storms. The World Monuments Fund has recognised the threat of extreme weather events to seaside piers by adding Blackpool’s three piers to their 2018 Watch List. With seaside piers regaining their popularity, their next big challenge will literally be finding a way to weather the storm.
Your hair can say a lot about you. It doesn’t just give people clues about your personality or your taste in music. It can also record evidence of how much you drink, whether you smoke or take drugs, and perhaps even how stressed you are. My colleagues and I research how hair can be used to provide more accurate testing for these attributes. And a recent court case shows how far the technology has come.
In 2008, a mother who had been struggling with alcohol abuse was asked by a UK court judging a child custody case to abstain from drinking for one year. To assess whether she managed to do this, scientists used a hair analysis that can detect long-term drug or alcohol abuse (or abstinence) over a period of many months, from just one test.
This case turned out to be a landmark moment for toxicological hair analysis. The labs analysing the mother’s hair suggested that she may have been drinking during the time she was supposed to be abstinent. The case ended up in the High Court, where the scientific principles underlying hair testing and, crucially, the way the results are reported were thoroughly debated. The judge was critical of the interpretation of the hair analysis data and disagreed with the scientists, ruling that there was no evidence to support drinking during the defined time-period.
Fast forward to 2017 and hair analysis featured in the High Court again. Yet this time the reliability of hair testing was confirmed. A lot changed in the intervening years between these cases. Technology advanced but, importantly, so did our understanding of what hair analysis data actually means.
The traditional samples for drug and alcohol testing are blood and urine. These provide evidence for cases where we require an indication of exposure to drugs and alcohol in a very recent time frame. These samples have what is referred to as a “window of detection”. This is a timeframe over which that sample can demonstrate exposure to drugs or alcohol. The window of detection for blood is often measured in hours, and urine can show evidence over a few days, possibly a few weeks.
By contrast, hair can show a retrospective history of your drug or alcohol consumption (or abstinence) over many months. This level of information makes hair testing invaluable in a wide variety of legal scenarios. If you need to screen potential employees for a safety-critical role, you can use a hair test to check they are not regular drug users. What if you’re concerned your drink was spiked at a party, but too much time has passed for any drug to still be found in your blood or urine? The drugs can remain trapped in your hair, which gives you a longer window of detection and allows scientists to find traces of the drug long after the actual crime event.
My research group is investigating factors that affect the hair concentration of certain chemicals produced when the body processes alcohol (metabolites). This sort of work is important to give confidence to the results of hair testing when presented in court. We need the utmost confidence in the data, when a court judgment may have life-changing consequences.
We recently showed that hair sprays and waxes can greatly increase the level of alcohol metabolites found in hair, giving a false positive result in an alcohol test. In one of our experiments, a volunteer who was strictly teetotal tested negative for fatty acid ethyl esters (metabolites of alcohol) in head hair untreated with hair spray, but tested positive after application of hair spray. Not just a little positive either. The volunteer tested significantly over the threshold for chronic excessive alcohol consumption after using hair spray.
This may sound alarming for a test that is used in court, but now that scientists are aware of these limitations, procedures can be put in place to mitigate against them and guidance can be updated. Ethyl glucuronide (a different alcohol metabolite) is not affected by hair sprays and waxes and so is a better target to test when someone uses cosmetic products.
Other ways of testing
Hair is not the only alternative to blood and urine testing. I’m currently investigating whether fingernails might be a better sample to test in cases where we need to prove abstinence from alcohol. It has been shown that fingernails may incorporate significantly more ethyl glucuronide (an alcohol metabolite) than hair samples. This means fingernails may be more sensitive than hair and could be better at distinguishing low levels of drinking and complete abstinence.
Toxicological hair analysis is not about catching criminals. It’s not about penalty or punishment. It’s about helping people. Results from hair testing can help support people struggling with addiction. In the future I hope we will also be using hair analysis as a diagnostic tool in healthcare.
The research I’m conducting at the moment is evaluating the potential for hair to be used as a diagnostic marker of chronic stress. Stress can lead to very serious healthcare issues. We are examining the stress hormone cortisol to see if we can identify people at risk from future healthcare issues from the concentration of this hormone in hair.
If successful, this work will take hair analysis into a new realm. I’d like to see a future where hair testing is used for a national screening programme for older adults who are most at risk from chronic stress. This could allow scientists to target interventions to lower stress at people who need them the most, which could significantly improve the health and well-being of older people in particular.
‘Non c’è casa senza famiglia’ – or ‘a house is not a home without family’, as the Italians would say. Italy is a country where food, family and music are deeply ingrained in the culture, so I was very curious to see how unaccompanied refugee children are coping in this country. The last leg of the field work for the ‘Media literacy for unaccompanied refugee youth’ took me to Milan. After carrying out interviews in the Netherlands, and getting to know the children’s situation in Sweden, I’ve arrived to Italy. Right after the latest statistics came out, highlighting that over 18,000 unaccompanied asylum-seekers were present in shelters across the country. With a new government moving to cut off the flow of migrants from the African continent, the question whether unaccompanied minors will find a new home in Italy without their families is far from being answered.
In the two weeks I’ve spent there, I got to know some of the organisations and volunteers whom were a great example of the legendary Italian friendliness and hospitality. CivicoZero, a project of Save the Children Italy, offers a centre where young unaccompanied asylum-seekers can learn Italian, IT, play sports together or just hang out on one of the coaches and find a safe haven. During the interviews I carried out at CivicoZero, I got to know young people from countries close and far away (Albania, Egypt, Morocco or Nigeria). Although speaking different languages and coming from vastly different cultures, one thing they had in common with the Italians: the love of football – and consequently, the Score Match app!
Another initiative that I found exemplary was the Penny Wirton school: a place run entirely by volunteers where migrants can learn Italian for free. These schools have opened across the country, and they offer a possibility for those new to the country to practice the language with a local (one to one tuition), learn about the customs and get to know the culture. In Milan, most of the volunteers were seniors, and every week they returned to a local parish to meet the young asylum-seekers. It was impressive to see these seniors: they give a helping hand where it is the most needed. In an aging Europe, this initiative could be a good example for many seniors that would like to offer their skills and time.
Despite the political rhetoric, I’ve seen many people eager to offer some kind of support to those in need. For instance, the number of ‘volunteer guardians’ is on the rise, as more people sign up to become guardians of unaccompanied refugee children, without receiving any compensation. Other organisations offer pizza-making classes to migrants in an effort to equip them with skills that could ease their integration.
And indeed, help is much needed, since even in terms of the use of social media and technology, the children showed very different levels of knowledge and understanding. From kids who were seasoned online gamers, to children whom didn’t own a phone at all, it seems that unaccompanied young refugees need very specific educational interventions.
The next step of the ‘Media literacy for unaccompanied refugee youth’ will be to create these interventions with the help of refugee kids themselves.
I am very thankful to Laura from the Penny Wirton school and to Valentina and her team at CivicoZero Milan.
The International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) www.ISSFAL.org held its 13th International Congress in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA at the end of May. After a very informative Satellite Symposium (Arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids in infant development), the Congress started with a welcome reception in the Tropicana Hotel. This was not only well attended by the approximately 500 delegates from all over the world, but also Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra made an appearance.
The following 3 days were packed with excellent and informative sessions about General Nutrition, Maternal and Infant Nutrition, Inflammation and Allergy, Clinical Trials Methodology and Ketoneurotherapeutics. In between, well-known researchers in the field presented their research in plenary talks. Dr Michael Crawford obtained an omega-3 research award and Dr Maria Makrides was awarded with the Alexander Leaf Award. Her presentation entitled “Standing on the shoulders of giants: great women role models, mentors and advocates” was really inspiring.
I would like to thank ISSFAL for the opportunity to present my PhD research. My presentation was entitled “Optimising LCPUFA content of donor human milk: A review of current milk banking practices and recommendations for improvement”, presenting the results of our UK Milk Bank survey, which is now extended internationally. Furthermore, I had two posters displaying our work on preterm formula milk storage conditions and lipid degradation; and the effects of lipid degradation products on intestinal cells in vitro. These presentations gave me the possibility to position myself in the fatty acid research world and to make valuable contacts.
ISSFAL was especially taking care of us New Investigators, providing New Investigator Awards, organising a New Investigator social at the Mob Museum for networking with other researchers at a similar stage, as well as organising a meet the professor breakfast to talk to the experts in the field. One of the none scientific highlights was of course our trip to the Grand Canyon on the free day.
I would also like to thank my supervisors Dr Simon Dyall and Prof Minesh Khashu for their ongoing support as well as Gillian Weaver and Dr Caroline Childs for the fantastic collaborations. Furthermore, I would like to thank Bournemouth University and Santander for making this trip possible.
This philosophically-driven approach to caring, health and wellbeing is based on humanising practice. Focusing on what make us feel human and what life feels like from the inside out (existential understandings from lifeworld approaches) provides novel approaches to consider issues relating to care, health and wellbeing.
Humanising practice is supported by work settings which encourage connection to personal experience and research which privileges subjective experience and knowing; such as phenomenology, narrative, auto-ethnography, embodied knowing and arts–based approaches.
This is our fourth conference; people from previous conferences have said:
A fabulous conference. I leave this day feeling nutured…., inspired …. refreshed… glad to be human
I feel I have found my academic home, it’s a new home and I don’t know where everything is or where to put my ‘stuff’ , but it feels like home
It all fits ! So much lovely work is happening. The threads come together and support this work/idea/way of being. Loved hearing others’ stories and work in action
Thank-you for inviting me to participate –these are very powerful events
The University of Vienna (UV) hosted an International Staff Training Week on 4 – 6 June 2018, which was attended by 43 staff members from 34 universities in Europe, Israel and China. UV gave international guests a warm welcome by the Vice-Rector of Research & International Affairs and the Head of the International Office. The Vice-Rector talked about UV’s history from its founding in 1365 to now currently educating 94,000 students in 15 Faculties with 6,600 academics. It has 20 Research Platforms (inter-disciplinary research teams), 4 Research Centres, 43 European Research Council grants and 84 global university partnerships.
This welcome was followed by the Director of Governance’s presentation about UV’s governance structure comprising of the University Board, the Rectorate, Senate and Advisory Boards. The Head of Quality Management then presented on UV’s quality assurance processes. The opening of the Staff Training Week was concluded by a Viennese canape and wine reception, with local wines sourced from vineyards surrounding the city.
On the second and third days, many of UV’s central Service Units (equivalent to our Professional Services departments) provided job shadowing, workshops and exchange activities. I visited the Research Support & Career Development service unit to give a presentation about BU and RKEO; and shared common challenges and professional best practice with UV staff. I had many informative discussions with the Deputy Head of Research Support, National Funding officers, International Funding officers, Technology Transfer officers and the Systems officer. I also met with the Legal officers who sat within this service unit. I know that the outcome of our discussions will lead to implementation of practice ideas in both Universities’ research support offices.
The Host offered visits to a choice of the Astronomical Observatory, the University Library and the Vienna Bio Center. I chose to visit the last place and UV’s Head of the International Office took a group of about 10 guests to visit this Center. The Center’s Director of Finance & Administration guided us on an insightful tour around the laboratory facilities and to chat with technicians and students working there. For more details about the life sciences research conducted by the Vienna Bio Center, see: http://www.mfpl.ac.at/.
Amidst this intensive programme, I made the time to immerse myself in UV’s campus life, the city’s imperial history and Austrian culture. The Campus of UV is comprised of a series of historic buildings with a large courtyard centre, surrounded by cafes and restaurants that are open to the public. The grassed court is filled with greenery, benches, grassed areas and a big playground, part of UV’s “open to the community” policy.
UV is located in the centre of the city and is within walking distance of most of its historic buildings and monuments, such as Parliament, museums, art galleries, the State Opera House and the Concert Hall (home of the world-reknowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra). Public transport by trams, subway and buses were efficient and the Belvedere Palace, the former imperial family’s city abode was a few tram stops away. I also visited Schonbrunn Palace, the imperial family’s country residence a few subway stops away, for a dinner and Mozart & Strauss concert – the grand palace, its grounds with profusions of floral colour and the classical music were amazing.
The days were hot, at or almost at 30 C every day of the Training Week and the evenings were long and balmy. I spent one evening strolling along the mighty Danube and stumbled upon a charming, suburban Austrian pub that served the refreshing, regional Gosser beer and lovely, local wine, made from the Gruner Veltliner grape. Delicious Austrian cuisine that I tried over this time included wiener schnitzel (veal), pork schnitzel, tafelspitz (traditional beef stew), beef consommé with liver dumpling and Viennese beef goulash. Desserts included the sachertorte (chocolate cake with a layer of apricot jam syrup in the middle), the kaiserschmarrn (chopped up pancakes with apple, raisins and icing sugar) and of course, the must-have, apfelstrudel (delightful apple strudel)!
Alice Brown Senior Funding Development Officer
Research & Knowledge Exchange Office
SciTech PGR Aishah Selamat from the Creative Technology Department is one of UK Data Service 2018 Data Impact Fellow. Here in this video, she discusses her research using machine learning to build an analytical model for SMEs in the private coach hire industry and the research impact using UK Data Service open data.
On Monday, June 11th we ran our long planned ‘GDPR for Charities’ workshop at the Enterprise Business Centre. This workshop was one of the outputs from our Charity Impact Acceleration Scheme funded project to help a local charity with their GDPR readiness activities. The aim of this workshop was to share the techniques and lessons learned from this project with the wider non-profit community in the Dorset region and beyond. This was a one-day event attended by around 40 participants working for or with charities of various sizes.
Jane Henriksen-Bulmer then gave an overview of GDPR and Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) before presenting the ‘DPIA Data Wheel’ – a step-by-step process for carrying out a DPIA (slides).
The participants were then divided into four groups and, with the assistance of our BU facilitators, used the Data Wheel to conduct a DPIA for a hypothetical but realistic scenario. The groups then came together to present the privacy risks they found to the rest of the participants.
After lunch, Tessa Corner delivered a talk on StreetScene‘s experiences applying the DPIA Data Wheel (slides), before Shamal gave a talk on how to find security & privacy risks, and demonstrated the use of CAIRIS to support the discovery and management of risks (slides).
After these talks, Raian Ali hosted a lively panel on GDPR and its implications for charities before Jane closed the day by summarising some of the results of applying the DPIA Data Wheel with StreetScene (slides) and discussing some next steps to build on the momentum from this workshop (slides).
If you’re interested in finding out more about the workshop, or would like to get involved in any follow-on activities then please contact Jane Henriksen-Bulmer or Shamal Faily.
Can an Artificial Intelligence (AI) bot ‘create’ a new work or invention, with the human creator, simply being a facilitator? If so, who owns the creative work or invention? As we move to the next stage of computing and AI, it raises a number of challenges in relation to intellectual property, data, privacy and ethics. Enter the world of robots, conversational human-computer interaction and AI with us.
We will be using devices such as Amazon Alexa, Google Home and AI based gaming and computer vision, powered by Twitter chatbots, to explore these important questions for the future, through interactive activities.
The Department for Environmental, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is investing up to £400,000 in projects that use digital technology to record and track the movement of waste through the economy. Funding for the competition is under SBRI (the Small Business Research Initiative), which aims to bring together government and businesses to find innovative solutions to public sector challenges.
This competition is in 2 phases. Phase 1 is for contracts of up to £80,000 to examine the feasibility of ideas. The best ideas could win a share of up to £1 million to develop and field test a prototype in a second phase.
Deadline: 18 July 2018
Available funding: Phase 1 – up to £80,000; Phase 2 – up to £1m
Please see this link for full details of this call.
The ESRC has announced the Next Generation Services Research call under the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund. Proposals of up to £1.25 million (100% full economic cost) are invited for interdisciplinary research grants, focused on working with businesses to identify the potential opportunities offered by the application of new technologies in the high value services sector.
This is a ‘Pioneer’ initiative that will focus in the first instance on the accountancy, legal services and insurance industries.
Please see below key summaries of this call:
Deadline : 4pm; 18 July 2018
Project start & end dates : between December 2018 and March 2021
Please see this link for full details of this call.
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