Paul Mackney, the new NATFHE general secretary, met AUT leader David Triesman on Monday to discuss relations between the two unions.
Moves towards a closer relationship had been put on hold after the departure of former NATFHE leader John Akker.
This week Mr Mackney ruled out transferring NATFHE's membership in HE to the AUT but added that he was keen to hold talks on closer ties between the two unions.
But he said links between unions, including the AUT and Unison would be important to improve services to members. Mr Mackney has called for federation with other unions to allow staff to share central union services.