Whether a researcher moves to a different institution for each stage of his or her career, or remains at the same place, Science Professor says several factors play into his or her overall success. Still, she wonders whether it's better to "stay or go?"Turning to her readers, Science Professor solicits anecdotal evidence in support of either choice. "I have moved around a lot in my career, and I'm glad I did that. … For me, it was important to move on from time to time. I met many interesting people, gained new collaborators, and developed new research directions in each place," she says, though she adds "perhaps you can do this as well in a very large and dynamic institution, and therefore perhaps the key to whether staying [versus] going is good [versus] bad depends on what you do with your opportunities in each place."
For commenter Alex, deciding whether to stay or go depends largely on whether the researcher plans to change his or her research focus, and if so, how significantly. "I think that if you are staying 'in the same general area' it's a bad idea to stay at the same place for undergrad and grad, or PhD and postdoc," Alex says. Conversely, "if you decide to change subfields, and the best people to do that with just happen to be in a different building on the same campus, well, great," Alex adds.
DrugMonkey adds that, in his experience, "Bias against the homegrown is just as bad as … bias for the homegrown."
Still, Jim Thomerson says that while he completed a bachelor's, master's, and PhD at three separate institutions, he knows of a "a very successful colleague did all his degrees at one university, became a TT professor there, and is probably now an emeritus."