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Roy Li

researcher at imec, Leuven, Belgium

Roy Li
"Australia’s diverse landscapes and vibrant cities make it a dream destination for travelers looking for adventure and relaxation all in one place."

A tale of two states

Roy was born in Hebei Province, China where he lived until high school. After completing college, he earned a scholarship from the Australian government to study and work on photovoltaic renewable energy. He pursued his studies at the University of New South Wales, focusing on energy-selective contact. During this time, he also completed his integrated PhD within the quantum electronic device group. While living in Australia, Roy became an Australian citizen.

byron bay
Byron Bay
australian gold coast
Australian Gold Coast

How it all began

Roy’s wife, whom he met in Australia, was originally from China. After marriage she shifted to France for her postdoctoral studies. Naturally, Roy wanted to be closer to his wife, so he accepted an offer for a postdoctoral research position in quantum computing at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. This marked his first trip to Europe.

While at Delft, imec launched a quantum computing program in Belgium, and Roy applied for a job there, becoming an imec employee in 2018. During all these transitions he and his wife aimed to be close as they pursued their respective academic careers in different countries. Eventually, they reunited in Belgium. His wife began entrepreneurship, successfully running a startup before joining imec as a metrology engineer.

surfers with surfboards
Surfers with surfboards
new south wales - three sisters mountains
New South Wales - Three Sisters Mountains (picture by Roy)

Australian surprises

Australia was a food paradise for Roy, and he felt a strong connection with the locals. One memorable experience was when Roy and his future wife went on a date, and a kind elderly Australian stranger unexpectedly gave them flowers and blessings. Things like this amazed Roy.

Another thing that always surprised him was the Australian weather. It could start as a sunny day and suddenly change to a rainy one. Once, during an activity with his research group on a sunny street, they saw a cloud formation approaching. The scene was almost like a painting, with sunshine on one side and heavy rain on the other. This unpredictable weather pattern happened frequently during Roy’s time in Australia. Whenever he saw signs of rain while outside, Roy hurriedly ran for shelter in the opposite direction to stay dry.

BlurHashvictoria - loch ard gorge view point on great ocean road
Victoria - Loch Ard Gorge view point on Great Ocean Road

Divergent diaries of Oz

Australia is a big, exciting country with lots to see and do. From Sydney to the Great Barrier Reef, each destination is a unique experience waiting to be discovered. Roy visited Perth on multiple occasions. The capital of Western Australia has a laid-back vibe, beautiful beaches, and a lively arts scene. Rottnest Island in Perth has cute little quokkas, and Fremantle Markets there offer scrumptious seafood. He loved touring Sydney, Australia’s largest city. It is famous for its landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach or the historic Rocks district. Just a short drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains are a natural wonderland. It is full of steep cliffs, lush forests, and misty valleys. Taking a hike or cable car over Jamison Valley is quite popular.

Must do

While driving down the Great Ocean Road, be sure to stop at Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, and Gibson Steps for incredible photos.

rottnest island - mother and baby quokkas
Rottnest Island - Mother and baby quokkas

But one of the most popular yet iconic places in Australia is the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Queensland, is the world’s largest coral system. Snorkeling and diving here reveal an amazing underwater world with colorful corals and diverse sea life. Cairns and Port Douglas are the main spots to start the reef adventure. The Gold Coast, again in Queensland, is another paradise for beach lovers and thrill-seekers.

Roy highly recommends the Great Ocean Road drive, for its stunning vistas of cliffs, rainforests, and the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formations along the southeastern coast.

From Sydney’s famous sights to the underwater beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the stunning Great Ocean Road, Australia offers an unforgettable journey through an incredible country.