With low business research and development (R&D) dragging Australia's overall research expenditure below the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average, the Australian government has picked someone whose career has straddled both pure and applied research to head the Australian Research Council (ARC) for the next 5 years.

Peter Hoj, most recently the managing director of the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI), will take office in October. Hoj's responsibilities will increase from an AUD $9 million (USD $6.4 million) budget at the AWRI to a council that distributes more than AUD $400 million (USD $286 million) in competitive grants each year, rising to AUD $550 million in 2005–2006.

Hoj, 47, studied plant biochemistry and chemistry and earned his PhD in genetics and photosynthesis at the University of Copenhagen. He worked as a research scientist in Denmark and Australia on his way to becoming Foundation Professor of Viticultural Science...

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