Interview with Dr.-Ing. Mohit Raina from India
1. You finished your doctorate at the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) of RWTH Aachen University. In which projects were you involved during your study and in which projects are you engaged now?
"Being at the Institut für Textiltechnik, I was involved in projects related to the field of textile machinery and field of fibre reinforced composites and concrete. The majority of the projects which I carried out were done with many other European professional project partners and the industry. For the specific focus of my doctorate, I focus on the airjet spinning technology. However ITA gave me the opportunity to work on projects where my knowledge as textile engineer was required. Currently I have started my business in India in the field of textile reinforced concrete which belongs to the group of advanced building materials which were developed at the RWTH Aachen."
2. What is working at the ITA like? Please give us an insight into a typical day at work.
"A typical day at work at ITA involves a large palette of activities. It involves activities like coordinating research as well as commercial projects, interacting with business partners, business visits, reviewing scientific literature, research on innovative topic, guiding students, experimenting on machines, project reporting, attending programs meant at improving managerial capabilities and a bit of administrative affairs."
3. Working at ITA means working in an international environment. Is the personnel at ITA also culturally diverse?
"Well the personnel at ITA make you feel at home. They integrate you in the system. If you show intent and willingness to learn, they integrate you in the team. Language is a barrier as some may say, but if the intent to do good work is clear, every employee accommodates your language hindrance and in fact assists you with learning the language faster as they become real time dictionaries walking around you all the time. The environment is also international as a number of students from all corners of the world including Australia, USA, India, Japan, Africa, Russia attend classes, do project work and also thesis work at the institute."
4. Textile Engineering is a very specific field of research. When and why did you decide to become an expert for technical textiles?
"Well, I have a primary bachelor and master degree in textile engineer and know the potential of textiles as advanced materials and their application in various industries. However since I originate from India, in the late 90s the textile industry in India is more of a manufacturing hub for commodity goods. This has been changing slowly over a decade. At the start of the century, there was less industrial practice going on in the field of technical textiles. Being a potential for the future, some of my college professors guided me to enter into this field and explore the options in developed countries like Germany. Hence I set out on the path of learning more about technical textiles from only from books but also in practical daily life."
5. What did you study in your Bachelor’s and Master’s? How did you manage to get into your doctorate and into you nowadays position?
"I did my Bachelors from the Mumbai University and my Masters from IIT Delhi. During my masters course I had an opportunity to carry out a 9 month research project in Germany. This opportunity was provided to me by a scholarship given by the German Academic Research Association (DAAD). This scholarship changed my life and provided me with an entry into one of the most prestigious institutions in the field of textiles in Germany. I completed a successful Master project at ITA RWTH Aachen. As I said earlier if the intent to learn is right, the people around you at ITA give you the apt opportunity to grow. This growth was powered by trust in my ability to guide projects. Hence I was given this opportunity by the Director of the institute Prof. Gries himself, when he offered to guide me along the road of a Ph.D. He never said it would be easy, on the contrary the Ph.D. would help me structure my thoughts, my opinions and be prepared for the industry.
The Ph.D. didn’t just mean doing research but in fact growing as an expert and absolute professional in the field of textiles. This would ask for 16 hrs of work daily, which I was up for. It included aspects like learning the systems, learning the language, understanding research and implementing it. The journey through ITA brought me a juncture where I found myself to be the Chief Engineer of a team of above twenty German engineers. The mantra until the last day was “Learn and develop myself and in return give the institution my loyalty and results”. I finally moved on from the institution in 2014 where I moved onto start my own company along with Prof. Gries in India. The company looks into the manufacture of advanced building materials which I learnt in Germany at the institute."
6. What are your future career goals?
" I have started my own company Raina Industries Pvt. Ltd. and am going to grow is along with the support of ITA RWTH Aachen. The aim of the company is much in alignment with the values of the institution I worked for – develop people on innovative topics and also create employment in India. The goal is to become one of the largest pre-cast manufacturing companies in India."
Thank you very much Dr. Mohit Raina and all the best for your future career!