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WMG welcome prominent alumnus’ return after 25 years

China's Silicon ValleyWMG was delighted to receive a group of senior delegates from China’s Zhongguancun Development Group (ZGC Group), led by their CEO Mr Xuan Hong on Thursday 11th July. 

ZGC Group is regarded as China's Silicon Valley centred in Beijing with a network that extends throughout China and internationally, working with over 20,000 high-tech enterprises.

Mr Xuan was an alumnus from the Chiang foundation programme run at WMG in conjunction with the Chinese government in 1994.

The visitors were given an in-depth tour of the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC) and the Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Building by Mark Amor-Segan and Richard Seago, accompanied by Head of China Programmes Steve Raynor. 

Mr Xuan commented, “It has been 25 years since I was last here, and much has changed. It is very impressive what WMG have achieved over the last quarter of a century. I am very proud to be a WMG alumnus and the programmes I attended here are still inspiring me in my daily job.” Mr Xuan also expressed his wishes to send a group of senior ZGC group management to WMG in 2020, to attend a tailor-made management course focusing on Risk and Investment Management.

Professor David Mullins responded, “We are very proud to hear that you have found the learning from our programme so beneficial. We have watched the tremendous development at ZGC under the leadership of Mr Xuan. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work closely with ZGC group in the future.”

Fri 19 Jul 2019, 13:59 | Tags: Visits

Charging ahead!

Battery SchoolWMG is pleased to announce that its Battery School is now officially supported by the Faraday Institution.

In its role as the Electrical Energy Storage APC Spoke, WMG’s battery experts together with guest lecturers facilitate a mix of presentations and practical hands-on lab sessions covering electrochemistry, applications, future technologies, manufacturing, safety, testing, forensics and battery end of life.

The new collaborative Battery School was officially opened by Neil Morris, CEO of the Faraday Institution, with the first session held for 25 PhD students and future battery engineers, in June.

The Faraday Institution is the UK’s independent institute for electrochemical energy storage science and technology, supporting research, training, and analysis. It brings together scientists and industry partners on research projects to reduce battery cost, weight, and volume; to improve performance and reliability; and to develop whole-life strategies from mining to recycling to second use.

The Battery School is situated at WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre – the largest facility of its kind in the UK. Find out more about the Energy Innovation Centre here.

Thu 18 Jul 2019, 13:23 | Tags: HVM Catapult Partnerships Battery Systems Engineering

Sir Vince Cable visits WMG

Vince CableToday, Acting Head of Department, Professor David Mullins welcomed Sir Vince Cable to WMG.

Professor Mullins explained: "We were delighted to welcome Sir Vince Cable back to WMG at the University of Warwick to see how WMG’s Industry partners are benefitting from WMG's applied research and education programmes.

"As Business Secretary, Sir Vince worked closely with our founder, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, to develop the UK's Industry and Research base. We were delighted to show Sir Vince how those efforts are making a real difference today, from electric cars to apprenticeships and to do so in the remarkable Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Building.”

Sir Vince also took part in a roundtable discussion, hosted by Professor Mullins, with key executives from WMG and representatives from local SMEs including Charg:gy and Alucast.

Professor Mullins said: "I'm particularly glad that our partners were able to share with Sir Vince the issues and opportunities facing our region's Small and Medium sized businesses as they seek to innovate for future growth."

Sir Vince Cable commented “I was delighted to visit WMG again to see the great work they do with industry and to meet some of the local SMEs. The Prof. Vince CableLord Bhattacharyya Building is an absolutely magnificent building and is a proper tribute to Kumar’s contribution to the car industry, to Warwick, and to British Engineering. It is very appropriate that Kumar is recognised publicly in this way."

Wed 17 Jul 2019, 09:01 | Tags: Visits VIP Visits

Business secretary pays tribute to late Lord Bhattacharyya with new engineering inspired initiatives

The Business Secretary Rt Hon Greg Clark has announced, today, two dedicated tributes to recognise the outstanding achievements and continue the legacy of Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya (CBE FREng FRS).

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, who passed away 1 March 2019, was formerly Regius Professor of Manufacturing, Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. As the founder of WMG, at the University of Warwick, he was widely recognised globally for his position as a leading light in the fields of manufacturing, engineering and technology.

The reputation of WMG and Lord Bhattacharyya’s status as one of the UK’s foremost experts in manufacturing saw successive administrations call on his expert advice for a range of initiatives, including most recently the Government’s investment in battery technology through the Faraday Challenge.

Business Secretary Greg Clark announced, in the House of Commons, two tributes designed to reflect Lord Bhattacharyya’s life and achievements by championing excellence in engineering education, and industry-academia collaboration. They are:

- A Bhattacharyya Award for sustained collaboration between universities and industry. This Award, administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering, will recognise the types of partnership being championed by the Government’s Industrial Strategy, that bring together academia and industry to tackle challenges across sectors; and

- A Bhattacharyya Engineering Inclusion Programme in the South West Midlands area. This Programme will be a Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) education support programme for schools and FE colleges in the region, providing a range of extra-curricular activities, resources and bursaries to engage and inspire young people to pursue further study and careers in engineering.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

“Today I am pleased to announce a tribute to celebrate the contribution Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya has made to the UK, since he came here from India in 1961.

“He founded and led Warwick Manufacturing Group for nearly 40 years. Through his leadership, WMG has developed a global reputation in automotive research, the built environment, digital technology and healthcare systems, built on strong collaborations between academia and industry.

“Successive UK governments have drawn on his advice on manufacturing and technology and built strong lasting collaborative relationships with India and China. Kumar Bhattacharyya also championed high quality technical education so the tribute I am announcing today reflects both these important aspects of his work.”

The University of Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft said:

“These new national awards are both fitting tributes for a remarkable man. Lord Bhattacharyya was the ultimate personification of collaboration between universities and industry, he also had a passion for expanding the number of people undertaking engineering education and ensuring that everyone could access opportunities to do so. To this end he help establish not just one but two WMG Academy schools for students aged 14-19 with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths. I am sure that these new awards will inspire and reward many more people following his trailblazing path.”

Professor Dave Mullins, Acting Head of WMG added:

“We are delighted that Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been recognised and honoured in this way by the UK Government. He was committed to education and research over a sustained 50-year period and his passion was evident for all to see. He was determined that industry had the skills to innovate and be competitive, working with the UK Government to ensure this started with technical education in schools. Lord Bhattacharyya believed in taking risks and, through collaborative R&D, over the last 40 years WMG has enabled multiple ground breaking products to come to market.”

Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:

“We are delighted to be working with BEIS on a new suite of programmes and awards to celebrate the life of the exceptional engineer Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya. Lord Bhattacharyya was a pivotal figure in UK manufacturing industry while having a long and distinguished career in higher education.

“The new award to promote longstanding industry-university collaboration is a fitting tribute. In addition, the Academy is delighted to be supporting a new engineering inclusion programme for schools and colleges in the West Midlands to encourage children from diverse backgrounds into careers in engineering.

“Lord Bhattacharyya was a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion and we look forward to working with the Warwick Manufacturing Group, local employers, schools and colleges to create future generations of engineers and technicians for our industries.”

Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said:

“Lord Bhattacharyya’s contribution to the West Midlands economy was immense, not least in helping to place our region at the cutting edge of next-generation automotive technology.

“We are also benefitting from the strong and lasting links he forged between industry and education, relationships that will help stand us in good stead over the coming years.

“But Kumar was also a friend, colleague and trusted advisor and I can think of no better way of growing his wonderful legacy than with these two new initiatives.”

The Award and the Programme will be opened officially from later this year.

Tue 16 Jul 2019, 15:33 | Tags: Lord Bhattacharyya

WMG Professor named as one of this year’s Women to Watch

Professor Irene NgWMG's Professor of Marketing and Service Systems, Irene Ng, has been featured in the annual Women to Watch supplement, compiled by Cranfield University.

The 2019 edition features 50 Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) women, showcasing inspiring professionals who come from backgrounds historically under-represented in the senior leadership pipeline.

Professor Ng said: “ I am honoured to be featured in the Women to Watch supplement. It is so important that we continue to look around our own contexts and lives to be mindful of representations, whether it’s BAME or other minority views.”

Businesses should tap into diverse talent pool

Cranfield University’s Female FTSE Board Report, launched today [11 July], reveals that only 11% of women on FTSE 100 boards are from BAME backgrounds.

Dr Doyin Atewologun, Director of the Gender, Leadership and Inclusion Centre, says: “We need to be sure that we are not only advancing progress for a certain small group of women, but are truly pushing board diversity in every sense. We hope executive search firms, FTSE Board Chairs and other Directors are inspired by the rich talent we highlight, to look at gender diversity - including men - in a different way.”

Women of colour are missing from the boardroom

The Women to Watch supplement was introduced by Cranfield University’s Gender, Leadership and Inclusion Centre in 2009, and is this year compiled in collaboration with The Network of Networks BAME – Multicultural Chapter (TNON) and the Black British Business Awards.

Melanie Eusebe and Sophie Chandauka, Co-Founders of the Black British Business Awards said: “In 2019, it is simply unacceptable for any FTSE 350 nomination committee to refer to the common refrain that there are no Black Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) women on boards because the talent does not exist. Women of colour are often missing from the boardroom inclusion discourse, from the search firm shortlists and, ultimately, from the PLC board. The BBBAwards joins Cranfield University in this bold step to disrupt the status quo by declaring, through the profiles of these 50 impressive women, that BAME women of commercial excellence and tenure exist in substantial numbers.”

Diane Greenidge, Founder of TNON, said: “These inspiring women, already leaders in their respective fields, have the potential to bring the power of greater diversity to UK boardrooms. We join Cranfield University in urging businesses to realise the positive impact that women from a broader range of backgrounds can have on their success.”

Fri 12 Jul 2019, 10:42 | Tags: Athena Swan Service EcoSystems

WMG supports Kenilworth school children in national STEM competition

The FirecrackersStaff from WMG have been supporting the Firecrackers, a team of five Year 4 children from Crackley Hall School in Kenilworth, at the Jaguar Primary School Challenge.

The Jaguar Primary School Challenge is a STEM competition, with the aim being to inspire children to consider engineering as a career.

Professor Alan Chalmers, Dr Ali Asadipour and Maria Vasquez Caropres supported the Firecrackers throughout the project to research, design, manufacture, test, promote and race the fastest car possible using standard chassis and engine housing nets to create a car body made only from card.

The team’s achievements were first put to the test at the Regional Finals at Princethorpe College in May. The standard was incredibly high, with the Firecrackers taking second place overall and qualifying for the National Finals. The team also won the awards for Best Engineered Car, Best Portfolio and Best Pit Display.

The WMG team then set about helping the Firecrackers to prepare and modify their car for the National Finals which was held in June at the British Motor Museum, Gaydon.

Each car was judged by a panel of experts from Jaguar Land Rover with the design, portfolio and pit display all examined in detail. The children were also required to give a presentation, before the car was plugged into a compressed air canister and raced down a special track.

Although not the fastest on the day, the judges were highly impressed by the final design, and the clear and articulate manner in which the children were able to present their design decisions. The Firecrackers were delighted to be awarded the “Best Engineered Car” title ahead of 38 other teams from across the country. Best Engineered Car

Professor Alan Chalmers said: “The collaboration has been rewarding for all involved. The children have on many occasions expressed their enthusiasm for engineering. We’re looking forward to supporting next year’s team, and perhaps even winning the title of Fastest Car!”

Find out more about the Jaguar Primary School Challenge here.

Thu 11 Jul 2019, 12:32 | Tags: STEM Public engagement

Warwick submarine team are winners in the US

The Warwick Submarine team which consists of six 4th year engineering students, have won the ‘Smooth Operator’ award for their human powered submarine, at the International Submarine Races (ISR-15) in Maryland, USA.

Warwick SubThe Warwick Submarine team have entered the international competition six times since 2013, which this year was held in Maryland in the US, and won the award for ‘Smooth Operator’.

The six 4th year engineering students Helen Boyle, Sarah Kemp, Rebecca Seal, Ash Leonard, Giles Collee and Lewis Robbins had to design and build a human powered submarine and race it in an underwater course against other top science and marine engineering students from across the world.

In the racing, Godiva was able to achieve a speed of 2.88 knots – the best yet for the Warwick team and possibly a UK record.  Godiva remains the UK champions in this competition.

The team had access to cutting-edge engineering research from WMG and the School of Engineering at the University of Warwick as well as help from their sponsorship partners, which include Babcock, Stratasys and 3M.

Nigel Denton from WMG (a Nationally-Qualified Diving Instructor) enabled the students on the team to become qualified divers. This is a requirement of all participants in the competition; notably, the pilot of the submarine breaths from on-board scuba equipment.

The pilot lies prone in the submarine and propels the submarine by pedalling.  Derived from a bicycle, the pedal power transfers through a bevel-gearbox powertrain connected to the contra-rotating propellers.  To steer the submarine, the pilot manipulates levers, which control dive-planes for pitch (up and down) and yaw (left and right).

To ensure the safety of the pilot, an emergency buoy is released to the surface if the pilot lets go of the spring-loaded ‘dead man's switch’.  A light attached to the hull helps the support team locate the submarine in low light conditions.  These measures alert the US Navy divers who provide close support.

The ‘Smooth Operator’ award recognises the team that was best organised in terms of race preparation, efficiency of operation (including on-the-startline pilot ‘lock-and-load’ drill), problem solving, effecting running repairs and overall reliability. It is a huge accolade for the Godiva team to have won this against very significant competition, notably from the Omer team (from the École de Technologie Supérieure, Montreal) and Delft’s WASUB team.

Ian Tuersley, from WMG, who has been the Project Director on the Warwick Submarine project for the past seven years said:

Once again the Warwick Submarine ‘Godiva’ team have achieved an excellent result at the International Submarine Races. The ‘Smooth Operator’ award is testament to the hard work that the team have put in all year, not just to the engineering aspects of the project but also to such necessities as gathering the support of sponsors and the logistics of simply attending the competition with a viable racing submarine. In this project they have received support and advice from many people but the end result places us in a strong position for future development. I am immensely proud of all that they have achieved”.

Rebecca Seal, University of Warwick engineering student from the Godiva Warwick Submarine Team explains:

Getting involved with ISR has helped translate theoretical knowledge of engineering to more practical and hands on skills.  This sort of experience is exactly what I need to help pursue a career as a professional engineer.”

 

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS:

High-res images and videos are available.

Full list of sponsors include:

The principal external/industry sponsors:

· Babcock

· Stratasys

· 3M

 Others who have provided very welcome support or advice are:

· Diab,

· GRM Consulting,

· Stoney Cove Diving Centre

· ELG Carbon Fibre

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Alice Scott
Media Relations Manager – Science
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 2476 574 255 or +44 (0) 7920 531 221
E-mail: alice.j.scott@warwick.ac.uk

 

Fri 05 Jul 2019, 13:05 | Tags: Education Public engagement

WMG welcomes a senior delegation from China Energy

WMG welcomes a senior delegation from China EnergyProfessor David Mullins, Acting Head of WMG, was delighted to welcome Mr Li Dong, Executive Vice President of China Energy to WMG.

Mr Li Dong was accompanied by a senior delegation from China Energy and subsidiary companies China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd - the largest coal company in the world, and Pujing Chemical Industry.

WMG’s Nanocomposites research team is currently working with colleagues at China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd and Pujing Chemical Industry on the development of sustainable and environmentally friendly fully biodegradable plastics.

Dr Chaoying Wan and Professor Tony McNally updated the guests on the project, and the delegation toured other key WMG research facilities in Composites, Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM), Metrology and Battery Technology.

Professor Tony McNally said: “At a time when the sustainability of single use plastics has become a global issue, the WMG partnership with China Shenhua Energy Co. Ltd and Pujing Chemical Industry is internationally leading. Our goal is to develop fully biodegradable plastics that decompose to benign components, such as water and, that can replace many of the single use plastics used in packaging.”

Thu 04 Jul 2019, 11:20 | Tags: Nanocomposites Visits

Do passengers prefer autonomous vehicles driven like machines or like humans?– research finds that “peeking round” corners provides answers

Warehouse podsPassenger and pedestrian confidence and acceptance will be key to the future and development of autonomous vehicles so researchers at WMG at the University of Warwick have just conducted and reported an experiment to see which autonomous vehicles driving style engendered the highest levels of confidence among autonomous vehicles passengers – driving with full machine efficiency, or driving in a way that emulates average human driving. The surprising result was that neither was optimal but that a blend of both might be best.

The researchers took 43 volunteers into a large warehouse designed to resemble a pedestrianised area in a town centre with a series of routes that included a range of junctions. Half were given 4 journeys around the route in an autonomous vehicle driving with full machine efficiency using all its capabilities to drive in as safe and efficient manner as possible while the others were given 4 journeys around the route in autonomous vehicles that tried to closely emulate average human driving patterns. They then scored the level of trust in the autonomous vehicles. The result has have just been published in the journal Information (2019, 10, 219; doi:10.3390/info10060219).

The overall result was that there was only a marginal difference in trust between the two driving methods. The efficient machine method was slightly favoured but even that small gap between the two driving styles narrowed over the four runs. What was noticeable for both the “machine” and “human“ driving styles is that confidence in both grew with each new round suggesting that simple familiarity and growing accustomed to the experience will be one of the most effective ways of quickly building trust and acceptance of autonomous vehicles once their use becomes more widespread.

Mean scores of trust

Human

Machine

First Run

59.30

63.19

Second Run

59.55

66.33

Third Run

65.85

68.29

Fourth Run

67.20

69.38

Dr Luis Oliveira from WMG at the University of Warwick and the lead author on the paper said:

“The overall trust in both driving methods grew with every run. In the machine-like driving style this was steady upwards curve throughout the four journeys but in human-like behaviour there was a particularly steep change upwards in the scores between runs 2 and 3. The passengers in the experiment also acknowledged that future generations may be more comfortable with AVs and its features, as they learn to live with the new technology.”

The researchers also asked the participants to give some narrative about their experience and this showed that there were advantages on both modes of driving that may therefore need to be blended together in any future final package. The researchers’ literature review and warehouse experiment made clear that there re were two particularly clear lessons to be learned:

Smooth speed change – Past studies had already shown that Human drivers’ tendency is to break most at the start of any manoeuvre that requires deceleration whilst the totally automated driving programmes applied speed changes more gradually and efficiently. Human passengers preferred the comfort of the smoother changes of acceleration and deceleration provided by the machine driving methods.

Sharp turns - A common complaint was a feeling that the vehicles were performing uncomfortable and worrying sharp turns. This feeling was actually expressed by both those in the machine and Human style driving set ups but it was much more noticeable in the machine-like driving style condition. One typical negative comment was “what you’d expect from a driver is a bit of a gradual turn….there were moments where it was accelerating around corners, I think it catches you unaware.”

WMG’s Dr Luis Oliveira said:

“This shows that the challenge is that the speed and trajectory of autonomous vehicles should be finely controlled, but at the same time the vehicle should be assertive to provide the benefits of automated driving."

However it was the AV’s behaviours at junctions in the WMG University of Warwick warehouse test that produced the most diverse and surprising reactions.

The machine driven AVs were left to make use of all of their sensors and ability to communicate with vehicles that may out of line of sight to decide whether to enter a junction. If their sensors said it was safe and their communications with other vehicles indicated no approaching threats they would simply enter the junction without stopping. If however they detected a vehicle that they believed should have right of way – even if it was not yet visible to the human passenger they would stop and let that vehicle pass. In contrast The AV’s emulating human driving would always stop at a junction and would even edge into the junction as if the peek at what the oncoming traffic might be.

The reactions to those two different approaches were very varied and surprising.

Some liked the human approach with one saying that the AV was “…probably trying to inspire confidence in the passenger, I’m guessing, in terms of like the way it behaved, kind of quite similar to a human, it’s only ever going to inspire confidence I think it’s because that’s what we’re used to”.

Some also liked the machine driving approach of stopping at junctions even though there was no visible issue but because it was in communication with another out of sight vehicle that it perceived had right of way. One passage said: “it stopped at a junction, because I assume it knew that something was coming, as opposed to it reacting to seeing something coming”.

Equally there was dislike for both the human and machine driving methods of handling a junction.

Some perceived problems with the machine approach of just entering the junction if it believed it to be clear to do so with one saying that they were concerned about vulnerable road users. “..such as pedestrians or cyclists that could have been there that don’t communicate with the pod. That may be a safer way of doing it rather than flying around the corner”.

However others were greatly surprised at the “human” driving method AV stopping at every junction as they saw it not just as waste of the machines capabilities to scan and communicate ahead to understand traffic. They were frustrated that the vehicle was not “more assertive” One passenger saying “sometimes I didn’t expect it to stop, because I thought the other pod was a bit further away but then it did, so I guess it’s cautious…if I was driving I’d probably have gone”. Another passenger said “If I was in an autonomous pod with sensors giving a 360-degree view at all times, I’d expect the vehicle to instantaneously know whether it was safe or not, and not need to edge out”.

A further passenger who tested the human-like version, commented that a machine driving like a human and trying to look around the corners seemed ironically unnatural saying: “I think it was a bit unexpected because my expectation with the pods is that that there would be some un-naturalism to it rather than a human driver”.

Despite this seeming mass of contradictions in views about how AVs should handle junctions the research team do think there are valuable lessons to be learned even here. In particular:

  • There is clearly a need to give the general public the details of the driving systems, for example, the recent technological features such as vehicle to vehicle communication
  • For passengers in a vehicle consideration should be given to having a display and/or audio information that shares some of the information the vehicle is using so users can understand that the system is aware of hazards beyond the field of view.
  • There may be some merit in presenting the full benefits of the most efficient methods of machine based driving progressively when mass use is first introduced, so that passengers can build confidence over time


Note for editors: The full list of authors on the paper is Luis Oliveira (corresponding authour), Christopher G. Burns, and Professor Stewart Birrell (all of WMG at the University of Warwick at time of publication of the journal article) and Karl Proctor of Jaguar Land Rover.

 

For further details please contact:

Luke Walton, International Press Manager
University of Warwick
L.Walton.1@warwick.ac.uk
+44 (0) 7823 362 150

Or

Peter Dunn, Director of Press and Media Relations
University of Warwick
Tel office: 024 76523708 UK +44 (0)24 76523708 International
Mobile/Cell: 07767 655860 UK +44 (0)7767 655860 International
Email p.j.dunn@warwick.ac.uk

Or

Lisa Harding, Head of Marketing and Communications, WMG,
University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845
email L.Barwick@warwick.ac.uk

 

Thu 04 Jul 2019, 10:25 | Tags: Intelligent Vehicles

WMG brings together key experts to discuss the future of transport

ACES dinnerLast week, WMG High Value Manufacturing Catapult hosted an Autonomous, Connected, Electric and Shared (ACES) networking dinner in partnership with NatWest and Lombard.

The event brought together CEOs, CTOs and senior executives from UK leaders in the sector, speakers included Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, GiffGaff, WM5G, You.Smart.Thing and FiveAI, to discuss how ACES technologies will radically change the way we travel.

There is a global call to both reduce emissions and also to ease congestion and increase the simplicity, safety and speed at which passengers are able to get from point A to B. There is no doubt that the future of transport will be ACES.

The UK has always been at the forefront of transport innovation and manufacturing, and needs to continue to bring manufacturers and governing bodies together to push forward the ACES transport agenda and ensure the UK remains competitive in a global market.

WMG, NatWest and Lombard will be releasing thought leadership pieces from expert industry leaders over the coming weeks, sharing the challenges and opportunities for the UK transport sector.

For more information or to get involved please contact: wmgbusiness@warwick.ac.uk

Thu 04 Jul 2019, 10:06 | Tags: HVM Catapult Partnerships

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