An Innovation Ecosystem Collaboration


Established by Mayor Freddie O’Connell and Vanderbilt University, the Nashville Innovation Alliance seeks to bring together public, private, civic and education institutions to enhance the region’s innovation ecosystem.


Nashville Innovation Alliance

About Us

The Nashville Innovation Alliance is dedicated to making Nashville one of America’s centers of innovation. The alliance will bring together public, private, civic and educational institutions to develop and implement a city-wide strategy for inclusive innovative growth, and pilot and deploy solutions to address our city's challenges. Together, we will build an inclusive economy that creates the next generation of homegrown talent and businesses, attracting investment in our communities to support all of Nashville.


The aim of the alliance is to grow Nashville’s innovation capacity to create economic expansion and inclusive prosperity in a way that is uniquely Nashville. Inspired by the iconic guitar strings that are woven into the fabric of the Nashville community, we strive to amplify harmonious collaboration between talent, investment and research—the essential components that empower innovation to disrupt and transform.

The Nashville Innovation Alliance will create a structure for increased coordination to develop initiatives to:

  • Create a greater abundance of talent
  • Build a stronger network of investors
  • Allow easy access to research
  • Provide dedicated space and programs for innovation

Innovation in Nashville

Nashville and Middle Tennessee have the foundation for success. An abundance of talent drawn to the city's vibrant and culturally diverse creative communities makes Nashville ripe for growth as more innovation-based companies move to Nashville. The alliance will leverage all of Nashville’s sectors, while embracing our strengths in health, mobility, music and entertainment, and fintech to build Nashville into a globally leading innovation ecosystem.

  • Health

    researcher working in a laboratoryA healthcare industry powerhouse, coupled with the region’s extensive clinical and genomics data, Nashville is prime to elevate innovation in patient care. The healthcare services capital of the US, with three of the nation’s five largest investor-owned hospital companies headquartered in Nashville and over 500 companies and 170,000 jobs, the region has industrial strength to grow. Combined with VUMC’s BioVU, the largest collection of genetic information and medical records of any single academic institution worldwide, gives our city an immense advantage in their work producing results that garner national attention.

  • Mobility

    Researchers working with the Tennessee Department of TransportationMiddle Tennessee is geographically and economically positioned to become a global leader in automotive innovation, with an extensive automotive industry presence and strong talent base. A prime example is the I-24 MOTION, a collaboration between Vanderbilt and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. I-24 MOTION uses AI and ultra-high-definition cameras on a four-mile stretch of road to test automated vehicle technologies in real freeway traffic to reduce congestion and improve safety, air quality and fuel efficiency.

  • Music & Entertainment

    view of Broadway, downtown Nashville at nightThe Music City, Nashville brings distinct creativity, known throughout the world as the birthplace of country music. That creativity is brought to everything Nashville does, including innovation. And, as technology and innovation change music, film, and television production and live events, Nashville will be the center for that change. Investments like the new Rock Nashville, a 55-acre music rehearsal and production campus, will be a state-of-the-art studio and large-scale tour rehearsal space acting as a centralized home for artists and productions teams to plan, build, and rehearse and produce shows.

  • Financial Technology

    Nashville skylineNashville has a strong banking sector, and over the past decade has consistently been a choice for the financial industry given its strong business climate. In addition, Nashville’s music publishing and healthcare industries were early adopters of blockchain technology and other technologies critical to fintech. As technologies such as AI and digital assets revolutionize the financial sector, Nashville is well positioned with both its established financial entities and thriving sectors that are driven by fintech to be a lead innovator in this area.

Innovation Ecosystem Development

Leading centers of innovation around the world are known for having an abundance of talent, a strong network of investors, easy access to research and dedicated space and programs for innovation. While Nashville’s economy is thriving, more needs to be done in these areas to ensure new ideas and technologies can translate into societal impact and commercial success.​

​Members of the Nashville Innovation Alliance will collaborate to set priorities and advance initiatives to address these challenges and forge a more robust innovation ecosystem.

Areas of Focus

The alliance will bring together partners to drive initiatives in a broad range of areas:

Nashville Innovation Alliance, Innovation Ecosystem Development, Urban Innovation, Talent Development, Access to Capital, Entrepreneur Support, Place-based Investment, Marketing and branding, Business attraction

Together we will work in pursuit of the
following goals:

  1. Make Nashville a more attractive location for innovation-focused entrepreneurs and companies to grow and succeed.
  2. Grow our innovation capacity for economic expansion and inclusive prosperity.
  3. Solve real-world challenges through innovation.
  4. Develop, retain and attract skilled talent.
  5. Increase our global reputation and connectivity to attract investment.
researchers working in a laboratory
researcher working in a laboratory
  • view of Nashville skyline through large windows
  • five students working together in a laboratory
  • downtown Nashville, view of Assembly Food Hall, Ryman Auditorium, AT&T building

Avenues of Collaboration

  • New initiatives, programs and investments
  • Land use and capital projects
  • Collaborative grants
  • Advocacy priorities
  • Talent and workforce development
  • Recruitment of growth-stage companies in targeted innovation clusters

Steering Committee

Alliance Members

Currently in development. Contact us for more information.

Alliance Initiatives

Coming soon: the Nashville Innovation Alliance will launch an Urban Innovation Initiative, leveraging the technology and expertise of Vanderbilt and other local institutions to pilot and deploy solutions that will address some of the city’s most pressing challenges.

Piloting new technology or analytically based solutions at a small scale allows the city to test new ideas, remedy unexpected challenges, and build trust with communities before implementing solutions citywide.

Urban Initiative Model

Research & Development​

Deploy VU research expertise to study & develop solutions for urban challenges, regardless of commercial viability.

Pilot &

Test and scale commercially viable urban innovation products to provide solutions for Nashville and beyond.

Current Metro-VU Collaboration Examples

For nearly a decade, Vanderbilt University has collaborated with Metro Nashville to design, implement and evaluate numerous use-inspired projects aimed at addressing complex socio-technical challenges facing the city and region.

Examples include:

The Urban Innovation Lab will build on the foundation of these collaborations by supporting additional pilot projects that align with the city’s needs. More information will be shared on this initiative as it advances. To learn more, use the contact form below.


For more information, contact Sally Parker.

  • Sally Parker

    Sally Parker

    Vanderbilt University

    Associate Vice Chancellor for Strategy and Operations