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Our Team

UC Merced's Office of Business Development (OBD) was created to develop and implement growth oppurtunites 





Peter Schuerman, Ph.D

Associate Vice Chancellor of Research and Economic Development
Director, Office of Business Development
Director, UC Merced Venture Lab

Peter Schuerman is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at the University of California, Merced, where he develops the university's ability to partner with industry, and its ability to form new companies to build the economy and bring new technologies to the market.

He serves as the director of the Office of Business Development and the director of the UC Merced Venture Lab.

Schuerman is the founding member and architect of UC Berkeley's Industry Alliances Office, an office that nearly tripled industry support in its first year. He reinvented the licensing and intellectual property management program in The Texas A&M University System’s Office of Technology Commercialization, leading again to unprecedented revenues from both licensing and industry alliances. He subsequently served as director of Innovation Management for Texas A&M AgriLife Research, one of the members of The Texas A&M University System.

Schuerman’s work focuses on optimizing the way universities partner with businesses and create new ones. He got his start at the University of Florida’s Office of Technology Licensing, and subsequently joined the Office of Technology Transfer at Rice University. He has a bachelor’s degree in botany from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in genetics from UC Davis, and is a USDA Postdoctoral Fellow.

Rosalina Aranda

Operations Manager of Office of Business Development

Rosalina Aranda manages the operations of the Office of Business Development and its subsidiary programs, such as the UC Merced Venture Lab.

She has hands-on experience in developing and supporting university innovation programs, such as UC Merced's Engineering Service Learning Program and the UC Merced Mobile App Challenge, two components of Innovate to Grow, the annual showcase of UC Merced student ingenuity and entrepreneurship.

She joined the Office of Business Development to provide her expertise in innovation program development.

Cara Baird

Program Manager of UC Merced Venture Lab
Program Manager of UC Merced NSF I-Corps Site

Cara Baird is the business development associate for the Office of Business Development at UC Merced, and the lead advisor to startups at the UC Merced Venture Lab. She has worked with more than 30 startup businesses, and has developed the program to encompass more than 40 mentors and a network of strategic partnerships.

Baird also leads a team of market research interns that conduct market analyses for faculty members at UC Merced. Information from these studies are used to inform decisions made by the associate vice chancellor for Research and Economic Development in regards to prosecution of intellectual property rights. These reports are also used to identify commercially viable market niches for university research and to build relationships with industry.

As an intern in the Office of Business Development, Baird collaborated in the creation of the Venture Lab business model, including the Yard and Tower Start-Up Blueprint .

In January 2016, she joined the Office of Business Development as a full-time staff member after completing her Bachelor’s degree in Management at UC Merced in December 2015.