Two Crown Research Institutes, HortResearch and Crop & Food, have started merger discussions, with the aim of getting a final decision from the Government by the end of next month.
They took the proposal to Science Minister, Pete Hodgson, last week and have his approval to explore a merger.
Crop & Food chief executive, Mark Ward, says the boards of both institutes have been looking at the benefits of joining the organisations which have obvious areas of common interest and already collaborate in many areas.
He says a merged organisation would also be able to compete more effectively for research funding.
HortResearch and Crop & Food have combined revenues of more than $120 million. They employ a total of 870 people.
A final decision on the merger will be made by the Government in late September.