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Dr Aaron Amankwaa

Senior Lecturer

Department: Applied Sciences

Aaron is a Forensic Genetics & Biometrics Scientist with an academic background in forensic biology and forensic DNA legislation. 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


  • Law PhD December 02 2019
  • Science MSc November 12 2015
  • Biochemistry BSc (Hons) June 14 2013
  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy AFHEA 2020
  • Associate Member of the Chartered Society of Forensic Sciences ACSFS 2016

Research Themes and Scholarly Interests

Aaron's research is multi- and inter-disciplinary, spanning forensic science, law, and policing, with a clear policy-impact focus. His primary research covers three key themes: 1) evaluation of the effectiveness of forensic DNA databases, forensic biometrics and other forensic applications (including AI and machine learning technologies); 2) Evaluation of the impact of time, temperature and other environmental factors on the quantity and quality of DNA extracted from biological samples; 3) Assessment of the transfer, persistence, prevalence and recovery (TPPR) of trace DNA on different surfaces.

Key Publications

  • Please visit the Pure Research Information Portal for further information
  • Gaughran vs the UK and public acceptability of forensic biometrics retention, Amankwaa, A., McCartney, C. 1 May 2020, In: Science & Justice
  • Out of court and diversion, Biddle, P., Bengtsson, L., Amankwaa, A. 9 Mar 2020, An introduction to criminology, London, SAGE
  • Forensic Science in Ghana, 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
  • Written evidence submitted by the Science and Justice Research Interest Group, University of Northumbria to the Science and Technology Committee (Commons) inquiry on the work of the Biometrics Commissioner and Forensic Science Regulator (WBC0004), McCartney, C., Evison, M., Nsiah Amoako, E., Amankwaa, A. 18 Jul 2019
  • Forensic DNA retention: Public perspective studies in the United Kingdom and around the world, Amankwaa, A. 1 Nov 2018, In: Science & Justice
  • Response to the Scottish Government Consultation on enhanced oversight of biometric data for justice and community safety purposes (9231568), Amankwaa, A., McCartney, C. Oct 2018

Further Information

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)

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