Astronomers at the University of Portsmouth are to work with the University of Cape Town on a project to help understand the nature of "dark energy", which is causing the universe to expand more rapidly. A Pounds 200,000 grant from the Royal Society and the National Research Foundation in South Africa will fund the research. Bob Nichols at Portsmouth's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation is the British principal investigator. He said: "This is an amazing problem for cosmologists. By combining resources and talents with our colleagues in South Africa, we hope to make a real stab at solving this conundrum."