The co-operation with the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) began in the year 2000 and represents a strategic further development of the collaboration with universities in Southeast Asia that began in 1997 in Indonesia. Already two years later, 2002, the Mercator bureau at the UKM could be ceremoniously opened and run. The UKM-Mercator bureau is located on the UKM campus within the faculty of engineering as a facility of the UDE.
This Mercator bureau ensures the long-lasting presence of the UDE not only at the UKM partner university, but, via its central position, also in the entire boom region of Southeast Asia. The bureau is equipped with a secretariat and a multimedia laboratory equipped with the most modern computer technology. The construction of the Mercator bureau and the multimedia laboratory was made possible via the funding from Stiftung Mercator GmbH, Essen, which supports the BRIDGE project (Deutsch-Asiatische Hochschulallianz in den Ingenieurwissenschaften Teilprojekt Präsenz in Asien). With furtherance from the BRIDGE project emerged in addition a second Mercator bureau at the Universitas Indonesia.
The original goal of the BRIDGE project was the institutionalisation of collaboration between the partner universities. The development and implementation of common borne courses in engineering with double-degrees presented a particular attraction for Malaysia. In the meantime, the offers of double-degree courses commonly borne by both the UDE and UKM cover virtually the entire spectrum of engineering.
Even in the domain of research, both partners cooperate with each other in several ways. On the one hand, a brisk exchange of scientists emerged; on the other hand, common projects could be carried out e.g. with furtherance from the European Union within the scope of the ASIA-Link program. In a next step, the collaboration will also be extended to other faculties; for instance there was already first visits between the faculties of medicine.
How deeply-seated the Mercator bureau has become is shown by its participation in manifold events, such as, its participation on invitation of the German embassy in Kuala Lumpur in the course of the German Month, or as a sought-after host and interlocutor for the German and Malaysian economy.