Construction work on an agricultural research and education hub at Lincoln, near Christchurch, could start by late 2014.
Lincoln University, Dairy NZ and Crown Research Institutes AgResearch, Plant & Food and Landcare have formed a partnership to develop the hub to provide New Zealand agriculture with a one-stop-shop for sharing information and ideas.
The partnership grew from the university's need to rebuild earthquake-damaged science facilities and AgResearch's plans to spend $100 million upgrading its four science campuses around the country.
An estimated 900 combined staff will be based at the Lincoln hub.
Crown Research Institutes already have bases at Lincoln, but say the new complex with shared buildings and equipment will allow more cost-effective research and education.
AgResearch chief executive Tom Richardson said it is likely to be the first off the block to begin construction next year.
Dr Richardson said AgResearch's focus at the hub will be on farm research.