Requests for Information (RFIs) are not solicitations for proposals, though sometimes they can lead to funding. The majority of the time when an R&D funding agency releases an RFI they are looking for ideas or the state of the art in a particular area. One thing they may be doing is working on developing a new research program and are looking to find out what is the state of the art in industry or academia. They will more than likely use the responses to put together a new program.
If you respond, it can help you in a couple of ways. First, some of your ideas may become part of the program and you would be the best to execute on that part of the program. A second way is that if the sponsor likes your white paper, they may be willing to fund your idea directly through what is called an open BAA.