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Dr Aaron Amankwaa

Assistant Professor

Department: Applied Sciences

Aaron is a Research Scientist in Forensic Biometrics, Genetics and Biology. Aaron has an academic background in forensic biology, with research experience in DNA profiling and forensic DNA legislation/ policy. Through his research, Aaron has contributed oral and written evidence and reviewed policy reports on forensic biometrics for several groups and agencies including the Scottish Independent Advisory Group on Biometrics, Forensic Genetics Policy Initiative, the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology, the Office of the Biometrics Commissioner and the New Zealand Law Commission. He has also worked on Northumbria Police commissioned evaluations on out of court disposals.

Aaron holds a BSc in Biochemistry (2013) from KNUST, Ghana; an MSc in Forensic Science (2015) from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow (funded by the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship); and a Law PhD on Forensic DNA databases (2019) from Northumbria University (funded by Northumbria Research Studentship). Aaron joined Northumbria University as a Senior Lecturer in Forensic Science in January 2020. He worked previously as a Teaching and Laboratory Assistant (National Service Person) in Biochemistry at KNUST, Ghana, from 2013 to 2014. Aaron is an Associate Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences (CSFS) (since 2016).

Aaron Amankwaa

Aaron's research is multi- and inter-disciplinary, spanning forensic science, law, and policing, with a clear policy-impact focus. His primary research covers the following key themes:

  1. Evaluation of the effectiveness of forensic DNA databases, forensic biometrics and other forensic applications;
  2. Development of forensic genetic testing, with a focus on increasing DNA yield/ quality and determining the age of biological evidence;
  3. Analysis of body fluids in offences against the person and property;
  4. Development of online tools for teaching forensic science practical techniques;
  5. Development and evaluation of crime reduction initiatives and tools.

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Integrity, trustworthiness, and effectiveness: Towards an ethos for forensic genetics, Wienroth, M., Amankwaa, A., McCartney, C. 16 Aug 2022, In: Genes
  • Streamlining Out of Court Disposals Assessing the Impact on Reoffending and Police Practice, Rowe, M., Amankwaa, A., Biddle, P., Bengtsson, L. 18 Apr 2022, In: Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Out of Court Disposals and Diversion, Biddle, P., Bengtsson, L., Amankwaa, A. 16 Nov 2021, An introduction to criminology, London, SAGE
  • The effectiveness of the current use of forensic DNA in criminal investigations in England and Wales, Amankwaa, A., McCartney, C. 1 Nov 2021, In: WIREs Forensic Science
  • Gaughran vs the UK and public acceptability of forensic biometrics retention, Amankwaa, A., McCartney, C. 1 May 2020, In: Science & Justice
  • Forensic Science in Ghana: A review, Amankwaa, A., Nsiah Amoako, E., Mensah Bonsu, D., Banyeh, M. 2019, In: Forensic Science International: Synergy
  • Scottish Biometrics Commissioner Bill: Submission from Professor Carole McCartney and Aaron Amankwaa, Northumbria University, McCartney, C., Amankwaa, A. 9 Sep 2019
  • The Effectiveness of the UK National DNA Database, Amankwaa, A., McCartney, C. 2019, In: Forensic Science International: Synergy
  • Towards a reformed policy for immigrant DNA tests, a commentary, Amankwaa, A. 1 Aug 2019, In: Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
  • Trends in forensic DNA database: transnational exchange of DNA data, Amankwaa, A. 7 Feb 2019, In: Forensic Sciences Research

Inquiries are welcome on self-funded PhD projects on the above research themes. International students and professionals who are interested in pursuing postgraduate studies in Forensic Science at Northumbria University may apply for the following scholarships/fellowships if they are eligible.


Commonwealth PhD Scholarships (for least developed countries and fragile states) (3 Years PhD)

Commonwealth Split-site Scholarships (for low and middle-income countries) (12 Months Research as part of a PhD in home country)


Commonwealth Master’s Scholarships (12 Months Masters)

Chevening Scholarships (12 Months Masters)

  • Education PGCert July 01 2021
  • Law PhD December 02 2019
  • Science MSc November 12 2015
  • Biochemistry BSc (Hons) June 14 2013
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy FHEA 2021
  • Associate Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences ACSFS 2016

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