Two of Canterbury's leading universities are expected to merge, it has been confirmed.
Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Tuesday, allowing both parties to explore partnership and merge options.
Lincoln University Vice-Chancellor James McWha says both universities compliment each other.
"We have a whole set of disciplines that they don't have, and likewise they've got a whole bunch of expertise that we don't have. So by bringing the two together, you can cover both bases," he told RadioLIVE's Rural Exchange.
There are a number of ways in which the universities could now collaborate, and they've been careful to make sure no idea is taken off the table.
"One way would simply be to have a common governance structure between the two institutions," Mr McWha said.
University of Canterbury vice-chancellor Dr Rod Carr says the new partnership or arrangement must bring additional benefits to both universities and demonstrate significant added value not only to the institutions but to New Zealand.
The Government is committed to keeping Lincoln University at its present site and retaining its brand and identity.
Both parties are expected to submit their formal proposal by the end of the year.
Watch the full interview with James McWha above.