Last month GRIAC programme leader, Prof Dr Peter Wijkstra, was elected as treasurer of the European respiratory Society. As former president of the Dutch Society of Physicians for Respiratory Diseases and Tuberculosis (NVALT) he has experience in governance and has brought people together from various fields. In this role he also facilitated the creation of the Lung Alliance Netherlands, a patient-oriented organization, as well as the Netherlands Respiratory Society, a more scientific organization. Based on this experience he states he is “very much looking forward to playing a similar role in the Executive Committee of the ERS: not only strengthening but also linking the three pillars of science, education and advocacy within the ERS. For many years the ERS showed to be great in bringing together all people that work in the field of respiratory medicine. Science, education and advocacy are the basic components of the ERS mission, however they should not be seen as separate pillars. More than ever it is necessary to build bridges facing the challenges of COVID 19”.