A University of Limerick graduate has been named as the runner-up in a global innovation competition run by the James Dyson Foundation.

Cathal Redmond, 26, won the award for his 'Express Dive' invention - a new lightweight underwater breathing system which gives divers the ability to breathe under the surface for up to two minutes.

The Wexford native beat off competition from 700 entrants from 20 countries around the world to scoop the runner-up prize worth €7,000 in funding to develop the product.

Earlier this year he won €2,000 for winning the Irish leg of the competition.

The product design graduate also becomes the first Irish student in the 11 year history of the awards to win an international prize.

His simple product consists of a one-litre tank which fills with air when the diver resurfaces and presses a button.

They are then able to continue diving, with capacity in the device for up to two minutes underwater.

Because it is cheap, lightweight and simple to use the product is expected to be popular among those interested in diving who may not wish to use a scuba set.

The Express Dive was designed by Mr Redmond as part of his degree course in product design and technology at the University of Limerick, from which he graduated this year.  

He now hopes to bring it to market through the setting up of his own company. 

First prize of €40,000 went to a group of Canadian students from the University of Waterloo who invented Voltera V-One - a rapid prototyping system, which prints circuit boards within minutes.