Like Rebecca in her Time Wasters post, I too applied for a British Academy Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship. The bid went in in November 2011, and I had set up collaborations with 4 other academic institutions. Like Rebecca, my bid was unsuccessful. In their response, The British Academy highlighted the high level of competition:
One of the principal reasons for the slight delay in releasing the results of the outline stage of the competition has been the large numbers of applications submitted for the competition. This round has proved even more competitive than ever before. A record field of 923 applications were submitted for assessment at the outline stage. Approximately 14% of the total number of applicants, (around 130), have been invited to submit second stage applications, and there are only likely to be around 45 awards at most available at the end of the competition. This means that less than half of those invited to submit second-stage applications are likely to be successful; and the final success rate in the competition is likely to be under 5%.
So, a lot of wasted effort all round.