Through a comparative study of the United Kingdom and Spain, this article addresses the effect of different research governance structures on the functioning and uses of research evaluation. It distinguishes three main evaluation uses: distributive, improvement, and controlling. Research evaluation in the United Kingdom plays important distributive and improvement roles while the Spanish evaluation system plays, mainly, a controlling function and a minor distributive role. The differences that the article identifies should not be attributed to alleged different positions of the two countries in a putative research evaluation learning curve. Evaluation practice fits its national research governance structure.