Shinji Hirai obtained his Ph.D. in Engineering from Waseda University (Japan) in 1988. In 1990, he joined the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Muroran Institute of Technology as an Associate Professor. In 1992–1993, he trained under Professor Emeritus L. Brewer at the UC Berkeley. In 2003, he acquired the position of Full Professor and his research interests expanded to include effective utilization of rare earth sulfides and high-performance biomass plastics created using animal fiber waste. Since 2012, he is concurrently serving as the Director, Research Center for Environmentally Friendly Materials Engineering. Recently, as part of the ImPACT national project, he is involved in the study of resinification of artificial spider silk.