IES, the Glasgow-based building technology company, is to employ 20 more personnel on the strength of a series of contract wins in Europe said to be worth €4 million (about £3.4 million) over the next three to four years.

A spin-off from Strathclyde University, IES markets complex software for monitoring the environmental performance of buildings. The firm, which prides itself on its high levels of investment in research and development, was founded by Don McLean - who previously told the Sunday Herald that "megalomania is a perfectly acceptable form of business plan".

IES, which stands for Integrated Environmental Solutions, has won a leading role in 10 new European Union-funded research projects including several which promote collaborative research.

McLean said that the contracts were part of an "aggressive" export-led European strategy to counter the effects of the recession at home.

He added the new gains "kill two birds with one stone" by helping the firm to accelerate its R&D capacity, and extend its presence in mainland Europe. "It makes us more visible and puts down a marker about our industry leadership," he commented.

In addition to these, IES has completed four projects for the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board and one for Scottish Enterprise, each of which has resulted in commercial products.

McLean conceded that the firm's previously announced plan to double turnover to £10m by 2014 had been deferred for a year, due to the weakness of the construction sector in a sluggish recovery.

The company, which is also building capacity in the United States, currently employs 135 people worldwide and has recruited heavily in southern Europe, where unemployment levels remain high.