Massey University vice-chancellor Steve Maharey says he would be open to holding merger discussions with Lincoln University.
His comments follow a decision by Lincoln and Crown research institute AgResearch to drop their proposal to merge.
However, Lincoln and AgResearch say they will continue to explore partnership arrangements in areas such as post graduate education and technology transfer.
Mr Maharey says in his view, the merger plans were a catalyst for discussions about wider consolidation between universities and research institutions.
However, Lincoln University's vice-chancellor Roger Field is not as enthusiastic to the idea of merger discussions with Massey.