Lincoln University and Agresearch are not going to merge, but are still keen to work more closely together.
The university and the biggest research institution in New Zealand began talks earlier this year, with the aim of integrating land-based research, education and extension in a single entity.
After three months of more detailed investigation, they have decided that a partnership arrangement would deliver the same benefits, but at less cost and risk.
Lincoln Vice-chancellor Professor Roger Field says it became apparent that a full-scale merger was going to be a challenge, especially in the worsening economic climate.
They will explore partnerships in three main areas: post graduate education, commercialisation of research and technology transfer.