The research activity in microelectronics started in 1988 at the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering, but in a small scale and more on IC design, simple devices fabrication such as Schootky diode and also theoretical modeling. Research in the field of organic electronics began since in 1987 with the Department of Physics. In 1992 the first oxide layer has been grown by thermal oxidation using mini furnace donated by Prof. Shono from Sophia University, Tokyo. In 1993, the microelectronics laboratory of the Department of Electrical, Electronic and Systems Engineering was recognized by the R & D Division of Telekom Malaysia as a centre of excellent in microelectronics and provide a 1 million ringgit grant to UKM to assist the establishment of research laboratory known as UKM-Telekom Microfabrication Laboratory. All activities were focus on the fabrication process using silicon technology. Apart from conducting research, the laboratory adviced R&D Telekom in the areas related to microelectronics and nanotechnology.

In December 1997 the Microfabrication Laboratory was upgraded to a research centre with more floor area including another clean room class 1000 for GaAs research activity and MMIC design laboratory. This centre is known as the UKM-TM Microelectronics Research Centre (MERC) under the Faculty of Engineering, UKM and TMR&D Sdn Bhd. MERC is the only research centre equip with semiconductor microfabrication facilities for teaching and research in Malaysia.

In November 2002, the Ministry of Education approved the establishment of the Institute of Microengineering and Nanoelectronics (IMEN) as one entity under the auspices of the University. The institute concentrates on six major research themes, Microelectromechanical Systems(MEMS), High Frequency Technology for Telecommunication (collaboration with TMR&D Sdn. Bhd.), VLSI System, Photonics Technology, Organics Electronics and Nanoelectronics.