In Physics and Doctor of Philosophy in Nuclear Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) in the United States of America.
He received his Bachelor of Science His research interests lie on the fields of Hadronic Physics, and in Solar Energy and Energy Policy. Papanicolas has held positions at the French Atomic Energy Commission (Saclay, France) and has served as Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign, United States of America), and at the University of Athens (Greece).
He has also served as the Founding Director of the Institute of Accelerating Systems and Applications (IASA) in Greece.
Since 2008 he holds the positions of President of The Cyprus Institute (CyI) and of Chief Executive Officer of the Cyprus Research and Educational Foundation (CREF).
During his career he held a numerous positions in various organizations. He served as a member of the Interim Governing Board and co-Chair of Technical Committee for the SESAME (Jordan), Chair of the Appointments Committee for the establishment of the Department of Natural Sciences of the University of Cyprus, and Chair of the Council on Educational Evaluation and Accreditation (CEEA) of the Republic of Cyprus. He has also served as member of the National Advisory Council for Research and the National Council for Research and Technology of Greece.
He is currently the Chair of the Cyprus-European Organization of Nuclear Research Committee, the Vice-Chair of the Cyprus Scientific Council, the senior advisory scientific body to the Cyprus Government, and member of the National Research Council of Cyprus which is chaired by the President of the Republic of Cyprus.
He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of Academia Europaea, the only academic from a Cypriot Institution to hold these distinctions.
Married Stella Vosniadou, 1974. Children: Lito, Irini.