David Clark, professor of medical sociology and director of the university's Dumfries campus, will head up the four-year study, which has been backed by a Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator Award in the Medical Humanities.
Work is expected to begin in March next year on the project, which will assess different approaches to end-of-life care and will propose strategies for improvement. It also aims to generate more sustainable interventions for people approaching death, taking into account various cultures and settings.
Professor Clark said the award would allow the team to carry out "advanced and ambitious work".
He added: "The world is facing huge challenges in caring for dying and bereaved people.
"We need to better understand what approaches work well and how people in different parts of the world can learn from one another."