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For more information on this release:
E-mail: business_stats@cso.ie Barry Kelleher (+353) 21 453 5208 Deirdre O'Connor (+353) 21 453 5206
For general information on CSO statistics:
information@cso.ie (+353) 21 453 5000 On-line ISSN 2009-8405
CSO statistical release, , 11am

Business Expenditure On Research And Development

2019-2020

Business Expenditure on Research and Development (R&D) 2015-20201
   €'000
 2015201720181201920201
Current Expenditure 2,075,9552,492,1732,541,5662,700,5882,536,714
Capital Expenditure 157,102278,041236,182555,707854,451
Total Expenditure2,233,0572,770,2142,777,7483,256,2953,391,165
          of which; Irish Spend 809,662858,849967,088962,986977,845
                         Foreign Spend 1,423,3951,911,3651,810,6592,293,3092,413,320
1Expenditure for 2018 and 2020 estimated.

Enterprises spent €3.26bn on R&D in 2019

Figure 1: Total R&D expenditure
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Results from the 2019-2020 Business Expenditure on Research and Development survey show that almost €3.26bn was spent on Research and Development (R&D) activities by enterprises in Ireland in 2019. This represents an increase of 17.5% compared with actual expenditure in 2017. Current expenditure, which comprises of labour costs and other current costs, accounted for 82.9% of all expenditure in 2019, with capital expenditure accounting for the remaining 17.1% or €555.7m of total expenditure.

Irish-owned enterprises reported an increase in R&D spend of 12.1% or €104.1m, up from €858.8m in 2017 to €963.0m in 2019.

Enterprises were also asked to estimate their R&D expenditure for 2020. These estimates indicated an R&D expenditure of €3.39bn in 2020, with a split of 74.8% and 25.2% between current and capital expenditure respectively. See Headline Table and Figure 1.

Large enterprises accounted for two thirds of R&D expenditure in 2019

Large enterprises which employed 250 persons or more had the greatest share of R&D expenditure in 2019 with 66.1% of all expenditure, accounting for €2.15bn of the total spend. This was an increase of 23.0% or €402.5m on their 2017 spend.

Small enterprises with less than 50 persons engaged spent over €465.1m on R&D in 2019 which accounted for over 14.3% of the overall spend.

Medium sized enterprises employing between 50 and 249 persons spent €637.8m in the same period which represented 19.6% of total spend. See Figure 2 and Table 1.

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Share of total R&D expenditure
Small
(<50 persons engaged)
14.3
Medium
(50-249
persons
engaged)
19.6
Large (250+
persons
engaged)
66.1

Labour costs accounted for over half of all R&D expenditure

In 2019, enterprises reported that almost €1.7bn was spent on labour costs, which accounted for 51.9% of all R&D expenditure. Other current costs, which include materials, supplies, equipment and overheads associated with R&D, had a spend of just over €1.0bn which accounted for 31.0% of total expenditure. The remaining expenditure of €555.7m (17.1%) was accounted for by capital expenditure, with 36.9% of capital expenditure being spent on software developed in-house for R&D purposes. See Figure 3 and Tables 2 & 3.

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Share of total R&D expenditure
Labour
costs
51.9
Other
current
costs
31
Capital
expenditure
17.1

70% of total R&D expenditure was by Foreign-owned enterprises

Foreign-owned enterprises accounted for 70.4% of all R&D expenditure, with just under €2.0bn being spent on current expenditure, which represented 86.1% of all their R&D expenditure. The remaining 13.9% or €317.7m was spent on capital expenditure.

In comparison, Irish-owned enterprises spent almost €963.0m on R&D, with current expenditure at €725.0m accounting for 75.3% of this. The remaining 24.7% or €238.0m was spent on capital expenditure. See Figure 4a and Table 1.

In terms of R&D spend, the largest 100 enterprises accounted for almost €2.7bn, or 81.8%, of the total R&D expenditure in 2019. Of these top 100 enterprises, 78.1% of the spend can be attributed to foreign-owned enterprises. The spend of enterprises outside the Top 100 amounted to €594.1m. Of this spend, €214.5m, or 36.1%, can be attributed to foreign -owned enterprises, with Irish owned enterprises accounting for €379.6m, or 63.9%, of the spend. See Figure 4b and Table 5.

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Share of total R&D expenditure
Foreign
owned
enterprises
70.4
Irish
owned
enterprises
29.6
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Share of total R&D expenditure
Foreign
owned
enterprises
78.1
Irish
owned
enterprises
21.9

Services sector had the highest total R&D expenditure in 2019

R&D spending was highest in the Services sector, accounting for 61.0% of all expenditure. In 2019, €2.0bn was spent in this sector, while the Manufacturing sector spent €1.3bn on R&D. For the purposes of this survey it should be noted that spending in the Services sector includes the spend from all other non-Manufacturing sectors. The value of this contribution to the Services sector total is not significant. See Table 1.

Services sector enterprises reported that labour costs accounted for 70.9% of their current expenditure, while Manufacturing enterprises stated that 48.7% of their current expenditure was related to labour costs. In terms of capital expenditure, Manufacturing enterprises spent €256.6m which represents 46.2% of all capital expenditure on R&D. See Figure 5 and Tables 2 & 3.  

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Share of total R&D expenditure
Manufacturing
sector
39
Services
sector
61

Eastern & Midland region accounted for two-thirds of all R&D expenditure

The BERD regional data has been produced in accordance with the latest NUTS classifications. See Information Note for further details. The location of the enterprise’s registered head office is used to determine the region used.

Total R&D spending in the Eastern & Midland (EM) region was almost €2.2bn in 2019 which accounted for 67.1% of all R&D expenditure. The remaining third of all R&D expenditure, which accounted for almost €1.1bn of the total spend, was spent in the Southern region (€795.5m or 24.4%) and in the Northern & Western (NW) region (€277.3m or 8.5%). 87.4% of all R&D spending in the NW region can be attributed to current expenditure, while the corresponding figure for the EM region was 84.0% and 78.6% for the Southern region. See Figure 6 and Table 1.

Small (<50 persons engaged)Medium (50-249 persons engaged)Large (250+ persons engaged)
Own company/internal funds11.515.861.9
Public funding11.12
All other sources1.72.62.1

Almost 11% of funding for R&D expenditure came from external sources

Enterprises were asked to report on how R&D expenditure was funded. 89.3% of all R&D expenditure was funded by enterprises’ own company/internal funds, while the remaining 10.7% of expenditure came from external sources. The highest source of funding for R&D using own company/internal funds was in large enterprises at 61.9% of total R&D expenditure. See Figure 7 and Table 6.

Percentage
Sweden2.4
Austria2.14
Germany2.11
Denmark1.96
Belgium1.87
Finland1.78
Netherlands1.45
France1.44
Slovenia1.4
EU281.39
United Kingdom1.14
Czechia1.11
Hungary0.96
Ireland0.92
Italy0.85
Luxembourg0.71
Spain0.67
Poland0.67
Portugal0.67
Estonia0.6
Greece0.56
Bulgaria0.52
Slovakia0.48
Croatia0.42
Malta0.37
Lithuania0.33
Romania0.29
Cyprus0.2
Latvia0.14

Ireland ranked 13th in EU28 in terms of R&D intensity in 2017

The Business Expenditure on Research and Development survey is carried out in all EU member states. The most recent data available from Eurostat is taken from the 2017-2018 survey and allows comparisons across the EU. R&D intensity for a country is defined as the R&D expenditure as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product. 

In 2017 the R&D intensity rate for Ireland, at 0.92%, was below the EU28 average of 1.39%. Ireland was ranked 13th in the EU28 for both 2017 and 2015, compared to a ranking of 10th in 2013.

Sweden had the highest R&D intensity rate in the EU28 in 2017 at 2.40%, while Latvia had the lowest R&D intensity rate at 0.14%. 2019 data for the EU28 was not available at time of publication. See Figure 8 and Table 7.

Three in five of all R&D staff were employed in research

Enterprises were asked to indicate the numbers of staff who devoted any of their time to R&D activities. R&D personnel includes researchers (PhD qualified and others), technicians and other support staff.

In total, there were 27,755 persons engaged in R&D in Ireland in 2019. Of this total, 59.8% or 16,609 persons were employed as researchers, of which 1,966 were PhD qualified researchers. In addition, there were 6,832 (24.6%) technicians and 4,313 (15.5%) support staff. See Figure 9 and Table 4.

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Percentage of research personnel
Other researchers52.8
Technicians24.6
Support staff15.5
PhD qualified
researchers
7.1

Large enterprises employed 45% of all R&D personnel

In 2019, the number of R&D personnel engaged in small enterprises was 7,995 which accounted for 28.8% of all R&D personnel. Medium sized enterprises had 7,164 persons engaged which accounted for 25.8% of all R&D personnel, while 12,596 or 45.4% of R&D staff were engaged in large enterprises.

In relation to PhD qualified researchers, small enterprises employed 724 which equates to 36.8% of all PhD qualified researchers employed in R&D. Large enterprises accounted for 41.7% with 820 persons employed as PhD researchers. Over one in five (21.5%) PhD qualified researchers or 422 persons were employed in medium sized enterprises.

11,800 R&D staff were engaged in Irish-owned enterprises, while 15,955 R&D staff were engaged in foreign-owned enterprises. There were more R&D staff engaged in the Services sector (66.5%) than in the Manufacturing sector (33.5%).

18,007 people were engaged as R&D staff in the Eastern & Midland (EM) region in 2019 compared to 6,242 in the Southern region and 3,506 in the Northern & Western (NW) region. The Eastern & Midland (EM) region accounted for 64.9% of all R&D staff. See Figure 10 and Table 4.

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Persons engaged
Small (<50
persons
engaged)
36.8
Medium (50-249
persons engaged)
21.5
Large
(250+
persons
engaged)
41.7
X-axis labelMaleFemale
201376.923.1
201575.924.1
201773.926.1
201972.927.1

Females accounted for 27% of all R&D staff

The number of female R&D personnel in 2019 was 7,528 which accounted for 27.1% of all R&D staff. This compares with a figure of 26.1% in 2017 and 24.1% in 2015.

Research staff had the largest share of female employment with 60.3%, while Support staff had the lowest share of female staff at 19.4%. See Figure 11 and Table 4.

Almost 1,800 enterprises engaged in R&D activities in Ireland in 2019

R&D active enterprises are those enterprises who reported they either performed in-house R&D, had R&D performed on their behalf, or controlled branches engaged in R&D activity. There were almost 1,800 enterprises engaged in R&D activities in Ireland in 2019. 69.3% of these enterprises spent less than €500,000 on R&D activities. 17.3% had a spend in the €500,000 - €1.99m category, while 13.4% of enterprises spent €2m or more on R&D activities. See Figure 12 and Table 8.

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Percentage engaged in R&D
€0 - €99,999 36.5
€100,000 - €499,99932.8
€500,000 - €1,999,99917.3
€2,000,000 - €4,999,9996.5
> €5,000,0006.9

Almost seven in ten R&D active enterprises were small enterprises

In 2019, over 1,200 small enterprises were engaged in R&D. These accounted for 69.1% of all R&D active enterprises, compared with 371 medium enterprises which accounted for 20.6%. Large enterprises accounted for the remaining 10.3% of all R&D active enterprises with 185 enterprises in this size class. See Figure 13 and Table 8.

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Enterprises engaged in R&D
Small (<50 persons engaged)1242
Medium
(50-249 persons engaged)
371
Large
(250+ persons engaged)
185
Small
(<50 persons engaged)
Medium
(50-249 persons engaged)
Large
(250+ persons engaged)
€0 - €99,9995569010
€100,000 - €499,99943712132
€500,000 - €1,999,9992107130
€2,000,000 - €4,999,999344241
>€5,000,00054772

Large firms accounted for the majority of R&D spend of €5m and over

Large firms accounted for the majority of R&D spend in the €5m and over category with 58.1%. Small firms had by far the largest share of spend under €100,000 (84.8%) while also having the largest spend in the €100,000-€499,999 (74.1%) and €500,000-€1,999,999 (67.5%) categories. See Figure 14 and Table 8.

Foreign-owned enterprisesIrish-owned enterprises
€0 - €99,99990567
€100,000 - €499,999109481
€500,000 - €1,999,999110201
€2,000,000 - €4,999,9996453
>€5,000,00010420

Three quarters of R&D active enterprises were Irish

There were 1,322 Irish-owned enterprises engaged in R&D activities in 2019 which equates to 73.5% of all R&D active enterprises. This compared to 477 foreign-owned enterprises which accounted for the remaining 26.5% of all R&D active enterprises. 79.3% of all Irish-owned enterprises spent less than €500,000 on research and development compared to 41.7% of all foreign-owned enterprises. See Figure 15 and Table 8.

X-axis labelManufacturing sectorServices sector
€0 - €99,999238419
€100,000 - €499,999201389
€500,000 - €1,999,99976236
€2,000,000 - €4,999,9994077
>€5,000,0005568

The most common spend category was €0-€99,999

657 or 36.5% of R&D active firms had a spend of under €100,000 in 2019. This was closely followed by the spend category €100,000-€499,999, with 32.8% of firms.

The largest spend category was €0-€99,999 for both Manufacturing and Services sector firms at 39.0% and 35.2% respectively. See Figure 16 and Table 8.

Table 1 Total expenditure on research and development by size of enterprise, nationality of ownership, sector of activity and region1, 2017 and 2019
    €'000
 Total current expenditureTotal capital expenditureTotal R&D expenditure2
 201720192017201920172019
Size of enterprise      
Small (<50 persons engaged)385,555431,61539,17133,528424,726465,143
Medium (50 - 249 persons engaged)548,822574,70345,79163,108594,613637,811
Large (250+ persons engaged)1,557,7971,694,270193,079459,0711,750,8762,153,341
Nationality of ownership      
Irish-owned enterprises763,759724,97895,090238,007858,849962,986
Foreign-owned enterprises1,728,4141,975,610182,951317,6991,911,3652,293,309
Sector of activity      
Manufacturing sector 1,079,5661,012,405171,885256,6251,251,4511,269,030
Services sector1,412,6071,688,184106,156299,0821,518,7631,987,266
Region      
Northern and Western297,009242,25130,40935,040327,418277,291
Southern512,959625,02368,903170,515581,862795,538
Eastern and Midland1,682,2051,833,314178,728350,1521,860,9332,183,466
Total - all enterprises22,492,1732,700,588278,041555,7072,770,2143,256,295
1The BERD regional data has been produced in accordance with the latest NUTS classifications for 2019.
2Totals may differ due to rounding.
Table 2 Current expenditure on research and development by size of enterprise, nationality of ownership, sector of activity and region1, 2019
   €'000
 Labour costsOther current costsTotal current expenditure2
Size of enterprise   
Small (<50 persons engaged)313,731117,883431,615
Medium (50 - 249 persons engaged)386,035188,668574,703
Large (250+ persons engaged)990,444703,8251,694,270
Nationality of ownership   
Irish-owned enterprises468,571256,408724,978
Foreign-owned enterprises1,221,640753,9701,975,610
Sector of activity   
Manufacturing sector 493,420518,9841,012,405
Services sector1,196,790491,3931,688,184
Region   
Northern and Western157,66484,587242,251
Southern335,614289,409625,023
Eastern and Midland1,196,933636,3811,833,314
Total - all enterprises21,690,2111,010,3782,700,588
1The BERD regional data has been produced in accordance with the latest NUTS classifications for 2019.
2Totals may differ due to rounding.
Table 3 Capital expenditure on research and development by size of enterprise, nationality of ownership, sector of activity and region1, 2019
     €'000
 Land and buildings Payments made for licences to use intellectual products Instruments and equipment excluding softwareSoftware purchased wholly for R&D purposesSoftware development by company in-house and used in-houseTotal capital expenditure2
Size of enterprise      
Small (<50 persons engaged)9,2572,27111,0294,7806,19133,528
Medium (50 - 249 persons engaged)9,0732,10735,0564,22712,64563,108
Large (250+ persons engaged)18,267117,105129,1558,181186,363459,071
Nationality of ownership      
Irish-owned enterprises5,3803,89624,69011,971192,071238,007
Foreign-owned enterprises31,217117,588150,5505,21613,128317,699
Sector of activity      
Manufacturing sector 21,047115,033115,3084,332904256,625
Services sector15,5506,45059,93112,856204,295299,082
Region      
Northern and Western9,2912,76420,1542,51331735,040
Southern9,798106,32151,2871,9901,119170,515
Eastern and Midland17,50812,399103,79912,684203,763350,152
Total - all enterprises236,597121,484175,23917,188205,199555,707
1The BERD regional data has been produced in accordance with the latest NUTS classifications for 2019.
2Totals may differ due to rounding.
Table 4 Total headcount of research personnel by size of enterprise, nationality of ownership, sector of activity and region1, 2019
              No.
 PhD qualified researchersOther researchersTechnicians Support staffAll R&D staff2
 MaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotalMaleFemaleTotal
Size of enterprise               
Small (<50 persons engaged)5431817243,0898603,9491,8773212,1987313941,1246,2401,7557,995
Medium (50 - 249 persons engaged)3061164222,7178413,5581,6785482,2266453139585,3451,8187,164
Large (250+ persons engaged)4983228204,9172,2207,1361,7526562,4081,4747572,2328,6423,95512,596
Nationality of ownership               
Irish-owned enterprises6422639063,9731,4165,3892,6385583,1961,5237862,3098,7773,02311,800
Foreign-owned enterprises7053551,0606,7502,5059,2542,6699673,6361,3276782,00511,4514,50415,955
Sector of activity               
Manufacturing sector 4782957743,2331,2904,5231,3944051,8001,5576462,2036,6622,6369,299
Services sector8693231,1927,4902,63110,1213,9131,1195,0331,2938182,11113,5654,89118,456
Region               
Northern and Western152361891,2223331,5556361537897322419732,7427643,506
Southern3892336222,5259363,4611,1092941,4034752817564,4991,7446,242
Eastern and Midland8063491,1556,9752,6529,6273,5631,0774,6401,6429422,58512,9865,02018,007
Total - all enterprises21,3486181,96610,7233,92114,6435,3071,5256,8322,8501,4644,31320,2277,52827,755
1The BERD regional data has been produced in accordance with the latest NUTS classifications for 2019.
2Totals may differ due to rounding.
Table 5 Contribution of 100 largest enterprises by size of R&D spend and nationality of ownership, 2019
   €'000
 Top 100 enterprisesOther enterprisesTotal - all enterprises1
Nationality of ownership   
Irish-owned583,344379,642962,986
Foreign-owned2,078,859214,4502,293,309
Total2,662,203594,0923,256,295
Table 6 Sources of funds for business expenditure on research and development by size of enterprise, 2019
    €'000
 Own company /internal fundsPublic fundingAll other sourcesTotal R&D funding1
Size of enterprise    
Small (<50 persons engaged)375,79433,49655,852465,143
Medium (50 - 249 persons engaged)515,40036,38486,028637,811
Large (250+ persons engaged)2,017,23666,56269,5432,153,340
Total - all enterprises12,908,431136,442211,4233,256,295
1Totals may differ due to rounding.
Table 7 R&D intensity, percentage of GDP for EU28, 2013, 2015 and 2017
 2013  2015  2017
Sweden2.25 Sweden2.24 Sweden2.40
Finland2.25 Austria2.18 Austria2.14
Austria2.09 Germany2.01 Germany2.11
Slovenia1.96 Denmark1.94 Denmark1.96
Germany1.91 Finland1.91 Belgium1.87
Denmark1.88 Belgium1.70 Finland1.78
Belgium1.62 Slovenia1.67 Netherlands1.45
France1.44 France1.44 France1.44
Netherlands1.41 Netherlands1.38 Slovenia1.40
EU281.29 EU281.32 EU281.39
Ireland1.13 United Kingdom1.09 United Kingdom1.14
United Kingdom1.04 Czechia1.04 Czechia1.11
Czechia1.02 Hungary0.98 Hungary0.96
Hungary0.96 Ireland0.85 Ireland0.92
Estonia0.82 Italy0.78 Italy0.85
Italy0.71 Bulgaria0.70 Luxembourg0.71
Luxembourg0.68 Luxembourg0.69 Spain0.67
Spain0.68 Estonia0.67 Poland0.67
Portugal0.63 Spain0.64 Portugal0.67
Croatia0.41 Portugal0.58 Estonia0.60
Bulgaria0.39 Poland0.47 Greece0.56
Poland0.38 Croatia0.43 Bulgaria0.52
Slovakia0.38 Malta0.37 Slovakia0.48
Malta0.38 Slovakia0.32 Croatia0.42
Greece0.27 Greece0.32 Malta0.37
Lithuania0.24 Lithuania0.29 Lithuania0.33
Latvia0.17 Romania0.21 Romania0.29
Romania0.12 Latvia0.15 Cyprus0.20
Cyprus0.09 Cyprus0.11 Latvia0.14
Source: Eurostat at 05.02.21
Table 8 Number of enterprises with R&D activities by size of spend on R&D, by size of enterprise, nationality of ownership and sector of activity, 2019
 €0 - €99,999€100,000 - €499,999€500,000 - €1,999,999€2,000,000 - €4,999,999€5,000,000 and overTotal enterprises1
Size of enterprise      
Small (<50 persons engaged)5564372103451,242
Medium (50 - 249 persons engaged)90121714247371
Large (250+ persons engaged)1032304172185
Nationality of ownership      
Irish-owned enterprises56748120153201,322
Foreign-owned enterprises9010911064104477
Sector of activity      
Manufacturing sector 238201764055610
Services sector41938923677681,189
1Totals may differ due to rounding.

Background Notes

Introduction: The Business Expenditure on Research and Development (BERD) Survey 2019-2020 is a survey of the research and development activities of enterprises in Ireland and other EU Member States.  

The BERD Survey is carried out under Commission Regulation (EC) No 995/2012 implementing Decision No 1608/2003/EC. This is a statutory inquiry, collected under the S.I. No. 3/2020. The survey collects information about the research and development activities of enterprises across all business sectors of the economy. Most questions gather information on the spending and performance of research and development.

The BERD Survey is an online only survey conducted by the CSO under Section 11 of the Statistics Act, 1993 to increase efficiency in the collection of statistical data and to reduce the burden on the participating enterprises. Data was collected in accordance with Section 33 of the Statistics Act, 1993 and with EU law and the survey was carried out under the agreed set of international rules as laid out in the OECD Frascati manual. Data are strictly confidential and will be used only for statistical purposes. 

Survey: The BERD Survey is a targeted survey which is issued to all enterprises which are believed to be actively engaged in research and development across all business sectors of the economy. These enterprises were identified from various sources which included previous responses to the survey, other CSO data and other administrative sources.

Questionnaire: The BERD questionnaire can be accessed from the CSO website.

Definition of Research and Development: Research and Development (R&D) is creative work undertaken on a systematic basis in order to create new or improved products, processes, services or other applications. R&D is distinguishable from other activities by the presence of an appreciable element of novelty and by the resolution of problems and uncertainties using scientific or technological means. Routine activities, such as routine software development, routine monitoring/analysis or pre-production preparation, where there is no appreciable novelty or problem resolution, are not considered to be R&D for the purpose of this survey.      

Actual and Estimated data: The survey requests Actual data for odd years and Estimated data in even years e.g. BERD 2019-2020 survey was in the field in 2020, so actual spend data for 2019 was provided by respondents, along with estimated spend for 2020.

Regional data: The BERD regional data has been produced in accordance with the latest NUTS classifications. See Information Note for further details.

NACE classification: Data is published for two NACE types: Services and Manufacturing.

For the purposes of this survey it should be noted that spending in the Services sector includes the spend from all other non-Manufacturing sectors. The value of this contribution to the Services sector total is not significant. 

Rounding of figures: Totals may not sum due to rounding.

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