At the bestowal ceremony, on 27 January, Paul mentioned his good fortune in attracting several excellent Spanish postdoctoral researchers to his group and praised academic friendships that transcend borders and distances, and allow us jointly to explore the world in which we live.
Describing his current research he told the audience: "Over the past three decades, my research group has made major contributions to the general field of host-guest chemistry, which has its historical origins dating back to Emil Fisher's 1894 famous lock (host) and key (guest) analogy. The design and construction of new host systems that are capable of discriminating between a number of different guests is the basis for what is called 'molecular recognition'. It is one of the key growth areas in chemistry, adding to the fundamental knowledge of how one molecule recognises and interacts with another molecule."
“The potential for mechanically interlocked molecules to act as molecular 'machines' was highlighted by the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Our current work is developing materials which can be thought of as 'molecular machine-like sensors'", he added.
Asked to comment on his work Paul said: “I hope the fundamental research contributed by my group will have long-term impact upon monitoring the environment, on personalized healthcare and diagnostic medicine.”